Vice Squad - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Vice Squad Reviews

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August 15, 2016
Vice Squad is a gloriously nasty little bit of filthy early eighties sleaze, a lean, squalid vicious neon noir crime thriller. Concerning a prostitute trying to survive a night on the job being hunted down by the brilliant named and utterly terrifying psychopathic pimp Ramrod (played by the possibly even more brilliantly named Wings Hauser, who also supply's the movie's great opening rock tune "Neon Slime") Ramrod is the real standout element here, easily one of the best screen villains ever, an almost impossibly horrible, slimy, brutal, feral monster who is completely mesmerizing thanks to Hauser's fantastic and full on, raw performance. Season Hubley too is really good as luckless prostitute Princess. There's just this great grubby vibe to this film, it feels a bit unsafe and dirty, especially viewing it on VHS (this movie is either really hard to get on dvd or extortionate in price if you can) which adds to the un-glossy, grindhouse aesthetic. A hard edged, willfully unpleasant and thrillingly suspenseful gem of 80's trash cinema.
½ May 22, 2016
I was considering a life of prostitution up until I saw this movie. My boy Ramrod (Wings Hauser) has a strong pimp hand, pimp foot, pimp blade, and pimp gun for that matter. His portrayal is one of the more frightening and believable to this day for me. His first hooker/victim gets her head legitimately slammed against a wall so many times I was waiting for her to tap out or go limp. Then it is simply left up to the imagination to guess all the ways Ramrod uses a coat hanger to basically finish her off.
Is fetishy a word? Cause if its not crazy ass pimps, its fetishy ass johns and I must say, people in Hollywood have too much money. One of the strangest scenes comes when old man limp dick comes raising out of a coffin like a mummy. Friend of Hooker #1, lets call her hooker #2 (played by Season Hubley) is that super tough as shit kinda hot and ready to do anything to stay out of jail and help get revenge. But no one, and he is pretty sincere when he says it, NO ONE..... MESSES...... WITH..... RAMROD!
½ August 17, 2015
A trashy 80s film about a vengeful pimp after a protagonist prostitute. The pimp was a pretty good character but the rest were pretty flat. Mediocre overall plot but a lot of interesting gritty LA locations
February 1, 2015
I went into Vice Squad expecting a glorified exploitation film of crime, objectified nudity, and just about the same sort of dirty tropes of the genre. While it may have the feel of something like The Exterminator, the film seems fairly honest and doesn't attempt to necessarily expose or glorify anything and exposes whatever is necessary. The film deals with a police unit with a usual tough job of handling crime on the heavily prostituted and crime ridden streets of 80's Los Angeles, and does it well. After a mother prostitute loses a close friend to a psycho named Ramrod, she is used by the police to lure him in and bust him. Unfortunately, Ramrod busts away from the police and is now after the woman. What the film deals with is the idea that the prostitution underworld is dirty, yet filled with women who are simply making a needed living. When the business involves dealing with strangers, you're also putting your life at risk each time you hop into a car with a male. Who do you trust to be a fair customer or a sadistic psycho? It's that lesson that's expressed in all the trouble that the pimps and prostitutes deal with in the film, and despite the police's efforts to stop this crime, a very line is uttered at the end of the film to the cop: "I don't know why you keep doing it. You're never going to change the streets." That's crime in general. Sometimes there's problems that will escalate and not go away so easily, sometimes made worse with police interfering, but someone's gotta try, don't they? The police do their job because if no one tries to control crime, crime would spread, and they have to do what they can. Vice Squad may still feel a bit sleazy, and disturbing, but it's not a trashy film, the actors are okay and and the intent of the film is made apparent and well. It's still pretty low-brow, but it deserves more credit than it deserves. It's hardly as relevant now perhaps in its time period, so one must watch this now for its intent and to place themselves in the 80's if you are to make this worth your time.
September 12, 2013
One of my favorites, Wings Hauser is awesome in this
May 28, 2013
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January 17, 2013
Sexploitation cult flick that's dull, sleazy and violent. Seems like a B-film despite given the A-film big budget treatment.
November 21, 2012
While this is sleazy and grimy beyond belief, it's also an amazing thriller. Wings Hauser as Ramrod, a psychotic pimp just blows me away.
July 16, 2012
Lars Nilsen said Wings Hauser was pulling some incredible workdays while making this movie at night and also filming the young and the restless during the day. Good stuff, check it out.
June 17, 2012
This is one of the best movies ever! That is something that I never take lightly. Season Hubley gives a great performance as princess but the real star of the movie is Wings Hauser. I owe this man and his son a dinner on me for their great performances but Wings holds the title as greatest psycho of the 80s!
May 26, 2012
Jag såg den klippta versionen men även den är smutsig och äcklig.Rekommenderas till alla som det är lite lite fel på.
½ April 29, 2012
DESCENTE AUX ENFERS en vf. Un jeu du chat et de la souris pas trop d (C)geu même si il manque clairement un Friedkin ou un Mann derrière les manettes...
January 15, 2012
You hurt me bad, Ramrod

A new police unit responsible for reducing prostitution and bringing down pimps has been plagued by a new relentless pimp named Ramrod. He not only beats and slashes women, he often kills them. The police force relies on a business woman, turned prostitute to support her child, to help bring down the vaunted Ramrod.

"There are two days a week I don't worry about, yesterday and tomorrow."

Gary Sherman, director of Raw Meat, Dead & Buried, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Poltergeist III, and Lisa, delivers Vice Squad. The storyline for this picture is just okay in terms of its premise and the quality of the action scenes; however, you do want to see the resolve of the picture and the ending is worthwhile. The acting is just average and the cast includes Season Hubley, Wings Hauser, Pepe Serna, and Beverly Todd.

"I could be a cop, couldn't I?"
"And I could be a virgin."

Vice Squad was a movie my wife came across while flicking through the channels and decided to DVR. We generally enjoy those 70s/early 80s pictures that have a new school grindhouse feel. This movie was definitely fascinating and worthwhile; although, the action scenes were terrible and a bit ridiculous. I recommend watching this picture if you're a fan of early 80s action films that don't take themselves too seriously.

"I will set your ass on fire."

Grade: C+
January 11, 2012
Season Hubley shines as a hooker who helps the cops arrest Wings Hauser, AKA Ramrod, the cruelest pimp you could possibly imagine. What feels a bit off is how the film takes the time to drag us through the dregs of LA nightlife, following Hubley around while Ramrod has time to escape police custody and go in search of revenge.

Nicely sleazy and well worth your time.

Recommended.
½ December 18, 2011
Moody, suspenseful, and a good cast, but nothing spectacular. The villain is interesting, but definitely one-dimensional.
½ September 18, 2011
Pretty intense film. Which is pretty impressive when you realize. How much is implied as opposed to laid right out
August 13, 2011
A HUGE 100 % (ONE HUNDRED PERCENT)!!!!!

WINGS Hauser plays Ramrod a coked-up pimp who beats-up his hookers and rams pimp-sticks into them!!!!

it is Freaked-Out!!!!!

they never make movies this Frenetic These Days.
. . . I think they censored my earlier review . . . I'll leave it up though:
. . . and this review of mine disappeared too (CENSORED).
I THOUGHT censorship was uncool.

Hip dudes like Bill Maher and George Carlin despise censorship.

The censored version . . . (booo).
(when someone takes down your review and makes it appear like you never wrote the review in the first place it?s a tell-tale sign you?ve been censored. (remember the disclaimer: any objectionable material may be deleted without notice).
WINGS HAUSER IS RAMROD!!!!!! Ramrod is a COKED-UP pimp who murders prostitutes and police-officers throughout the entire 90+ minutes of this AWESOME, HYPED-UP ?urban-Hell Movie;? yet, never once do you ever see Ramrod actually Snort Coke though.

You-know RAMROD actually seems like he was on PCP (Phencyclidine) throughout the film. PCP (aka Angel Dust) eliminates the ?feeling? or ?conscience? parts of the brain and people on Angel Dust Do Anything with no remorse; PCP appears to affect the frontal lobe of the brain that ?mediates? emotion.

Wings Hauser is (like, one of the) THE BEST ACTOR (S) in ?these-movies,? he is ON FIRE throughout the whole movie.

NEON SLIME sung by WINGS HAUSER over VICE SQUAD?S opening and closing credits.
July 16, 2011
Caught this on IFC. The only thing you really need to know about "Vice Squad" is that Fred Berry -- Rerun on "What's Happening!!" -- does a cameo as a pimp.

Everything else about "Vice Squad" would seem almost routine by today's standards. For its time, the film stakes out some dark territory. For content, tone and topic, "Vice Squad" falls somewhere between Paul Schrader's "Hardcore" (1979) and "To Live and Die in LA" (1985). Although not as polished as those films, director Sherman delivers a solid crime drama. Clearly influenced by Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," he manages a movie more on par with Eastwood's "Tightrope" (1984).


Stars Hubley and Hauser are better than would be expected. Hubley was primarily known for TV roles. Hauser would debut with a type of manic, predatory character that he would revisit as a guest villain on shows like "The A-Team" and "Hunter" and direct-to-video thrillers in the 1990s.
November 15, 2010
Terribly outdated, uninteresting, and poorly acted. Though I like the premise of showing a (mostly) true, gritty story of the Hollywood Vice Squad, I thought it was presented poorly here. Look elsewhere and skip this dud.
October 23, 2010
I'm something of an amateur devotee of low budget, grindhouse films. From flicks of the 60's to the present, I've seen my fair share. However, "Vice Squad" is one that will probably always standout to me, both in good ways and bad.

The basic plot is that a prostitute named "Princess" (played by Season Hubley) helps a seasoned vice cop (played by Gary Swanson) to take down a violent and deranged pimp named "Ramrod" (played by Wings Hauser), after he kills another prostitute friend of her's (played by Nina Blackwood), but soon becomes the target of the pimp's homicidal rage, after he escapes custody. Now the race is on between the vice squad and Ramrod, as to who will get to Princess first!

The film is certainly not for the faint of heart, or those who easily offend. No punches are pulled in the violence and degradation that is shown. It has a sort of gritty realism to it, but it doesn't quite make it over the hump to where you totally buy it. This is due to the stretching of credibility in some key moments. I mean, would an entire vice squad really go all out to find a single prostitute, even if her life were in danger? No, probably not. One cop, maybe two, but not the whole squad. And the violent pimp, who seems to constantly flip from calm to psychopathic at the drop of hat, would he really be able to intimidate all the hard players of this underbelly of civilized society? Again, probably not. So, when such instances happen, it takes you out of the moment and costs the film a lot of the dramatic tension it's trying to build.

Director Gary Sherman certainly does a nice job of portraying the seedier side of the big city (in this case Hollywood), as the grunge and sleaze of society's "forgotten people" is well displayed almost constantly. Sadly, though, there is little shown to us beneath that grimy surface. You never get into the minds of any of the players. You get a brief scene with Princess sending her daughter away, to show she has a softer side, but you never get much context on it. Even worse is Gary Swanson's play at the vice cop who gives a damn. Besides a very wooden performance, you never really get any insight into his reasons for being a vice cop. As he is asked at the film's end, "Why do you do it, Walsh? The streets are never going to change." The question is never answered, either to the character in the film or the audience.

The one solid bit here, is Wings Hauser's turn as the ultra-violent Ramrod. He plays it up for all he's worth here. He is certainly one of the perennial heavies of the 80's, both in film and television, but he steps things up a notch here, going from mean to downright brutal. His use of a coat hanger to whip up on prostitutes, shows a level of darkness that goes beyond ordinary misogyny. While most of the other actors just sort of plod along in their roles, Wings uses his to be a force of nature in the story, which is where most of the drama and action stems from.

The film is certainly not what one would call "classic," either in the award-winning sense or otherwise, but despite it's many flaws, it still manages to hold your attention and stick with you long after you've watched it. Whether that is due to it having that special 80's vibe, that made many less-than-stellar films give you that sensation, or merely the fact you can't look away from the sometimes over-the-top slimy nature of it all, I can't say for sure. All I can say is that, for good or ill, this is one film you won't soon forget.
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