Strip 'n' Run (1995) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Scoop's notes

This film is also known as The Thief & the Stripper.

Director John Sjogren has to have kind of an interesting story behind him, which would undoubtedly make a better movie than any of the ones he actually has made. I don't know any details, but I'm fascinated with what I see. He made a movie a year for the decade 1992-2002. These are not the kind of movies that win Oscars, nor even the kind that appear on theatrical screens. In fact, nobody seems to have seen them at all. Of the ten films listed in his IMDb page, three of them are not assigned a numerical rank because they still have not received the mere five votes required for a score. This is one of the films that does have a score, a deplorable 2.9/10. The others have a smattering of votes and slightly higher scores:

  1. (5.29) - Flat Out (1998)
  2. (4.53) - Red Line (1996)
  3. (3.55) - The Mosaic Project (1994)
  4. (3.55) - Choke (2001)
  5. (3.04) - Squanderers (1996)
  6. (2.92) - Boiler Room (1992)
  7. (2.90) - The Thief & the Stripper (1998)

So they aren't very good movies, and nobody sees them, and yet Sjogren seems to have made a living for many years by churning them out, and he seems to have inspired complete loyalty from his team. Like some more famous directors, he had a repertory company of players who seemed to be in almost all of his films: Todd Bridges, Michael Madsen, Roxana Zal, Joe Estevez. Several other actors appear in multiple Sjogren films: Chad McQueen, Corey Feldman, Robert Z'Dar, Julie Strain, Jan-Michael Vincent, L.P. Brown. This particular film uses many of those people, and also adds some dependable and familiar character actors like Martin Kove and Brion James. Even if you don't know the names, trust me, you know these guys.

I don't know how you can continue to finance films when all your previous films are are unpopular, or unseen, or both, but Mr. Sjogren seems to have discovered the secret, so I guess he got the last laugh on Hollywood.

This particular film certainly earns its low rating. It's almost incomprehensible, and usually illogical. It's a crime story about a down-and-out private eye who stumbles on a suitcase full of money and valuable computer disks, and ends up being tailed by various rival criminal groups, and various law enforcement people. There must be 25 main characters in the plot, and some of them just appear out of nowhere, leaving the viewer in "who is this guy again?" mode throughout the film.

The scene transitions are confusing and abrupt, and the plotting is filled with coincidences that simply can't happen. For example, on the spur of the moment in the middle of the night, the private eye flees to the glitzy offices of a former client, which are housed in a high-rent building where he happens to know the security guard. OK, that could be. But within minutes, everyone else shows up there. How could that be? When the private eye gets away from the surviving bad guys (they kill each other liberally throughout the film), one of the baddies says "Quick, he's headed to the airport". Huh? The private eye didn't even know he was going to the airport yet. How could the baddies know? In fact, wherever he goes in the vast city of Los Angeles, the baddies are always there instantly, often finding him by accident. He ducks into a tiny, obscure strip club, and some baddies looking for him just happen to stop in that same club. Fortunately, they leave their car running, so he runs out the back door and drives off in their car. No problem for them, however. They conveniently have a tracking device in the Porsche. He speeds home through a maze of L.A. streets like a driver in the Monaco Grand Prix, but they are there five minutes later.

It's just that kind of incoherent, irritating, confusing movie.

Are there any good points? Sort of. Michael Madsen lends a certain credibility to the cast, while Martin Kove and Brion James bring gritty realism, professionalism, and a sense of fun to their roles. Roxana Zal is quite beautiful. There is a substantial amount of topless nudity from Miss Zal and at least a half dozen different strippers, although most of it is in funky strip club lighting. It's not really a film I'd recommend, but if you get stuck watching it, it isn't completely terrible.


DVD info from Amazon

  • The DVD has about 20 minutes of deleted footage, outtakes, and bloopers, including lots of the raw footage they used to create the love scenes. It's not lively, funny stuff, but you may be interested to see how much footage they need to produce a 30 second love scene. (About 8 minutes worth).

  • The transfer is mediocre quality at best, in a 4:3 aspect ratio, with quite a bit of interlacing accompanying the motion.


see the main commentary

Brainscan's notes

Any regular reader of the Move House could score big points in a Celebrity Nude game of Jeopardy with these clues.

A. Charlotte Ayana, Elizabeth Berkley, Daryl Hannah, Bai Ling and Demi Moore

Q. Who are famous babes who have given up major goodies while playing strippers?

But add Roxana Zal and whole bunches of folk would ask, "Who?" Thing is Roxana belongs. She was a major teen star back in the early 80's...won a frickin Emmy, for heaven's sake, when she was 15, playing a victim of incest (Ted Danson played daddy dearest in Something About Amelia). Roxana went on to do dozens of TV movies and shows, playing an adolescent and then a young adult, but around 1993, when she was only 24 the roles seemed to dry up. By 1995 she was giving up top goodies in Redline, a DTV feature directed by John Sjogren. Three years later and we arrive at Sjogren's Strip and Run, aka The Stripper and The Thief. Roxana plays the stripper and she does not disappoint.

It is not, to say the least, a good movie... even though it stars some of the best character actors in Hollywood. As Scoops pointed out so well in his review of this movie a long while ago, Strip and Run has the highest density of astounding coincidences and unexplained behaviors of any movie ever made...including Battlefield Earth. Stupid things happen because the screenwriter and director could not come up with a logical way to move the action along without them. Yet that screenwriter, L.P. Brown III, is no idiot. He plays the part of the protagonist in this movie and wrote one scene where Roxana gives him a lap dance ... and another scene in which she sport-humps him. This guy was the smartest mofo in the business until Vincent Gallo came along!

All of the plot incongruities are minor annoyances and the essential stupidity of the movie is no big deal really, because entertainment is to be found everywhere, even when the movie is done, for not only do we get to see the impressive Sita Thompson and three uncredited strippers dance around topless in the movie's action, but we then get to see Sita and two nameless ones in raw footage, presented in the DVD extras. And if that were not enough, there is a 5-minute sequence of raw footage from which the Roxana topless sport-humping scene was constructed. Mon dieu, such a nice little surprise that was!

In the end I have only one complaint about the shoddy work behind the movie. It has to do with the exterior shot of the strip club. It promises fully nude gals, but there isn't a furry bit in sight in the whole dang movie. Looks like false advertising to these aged eyes!

The Critics Vote ...

  • Consistent with Sjogren's typical obscurity, there are no major reviews online.

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says, "This is a D+. I didn't really get into it because the plot is excessively complicated and confusing, but I made it through the film without using the fast forward button, so I guess it had enough good moments to keep me going. I hate to say it because the film isn't so good, but it has enough guilty pleasures to be considered kinda underrated at IMDb. I can't believe I wrote that."

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