On the trailers, a voice that sounds suspiciously like the narrator from Rocky
and Bullwinkle intones: "Terminal Island -- where we dump our human garbage!!"
In the not-so-distant future, capital punishment is outlawed, and the worst, most
ruthless killers are sent to permanent exile on a penal colony off the California
coast called Terminal Island (which looks suspiciously like Hollywood's Bronson Canyon).
The government supplies the basics for inmates to eke out an existence, but without
guards or supervision, they are free to make their own rules and create their own
society (or simply kill each other off). Carmen (Hartman) is dropped off there by
boat and soon gets a brutal introduction to the ways of the island, delivered by
enforcer Monk (Mosley). The self-appointed king of the island is Bobby (Kenney, looking
like an evil cross between David Cassidy and Steve Earle). Bobby rules with an iron
fist, as women cook the food, tend the crops, even pull the plows, and of course
are required to submit to every sexual whim. Before long, though, the women find
out about a group of rogue men who have escaped and are at large on the island. The
men take the women with them, and soon they are waging guerrilla war on the main
population. Every time they get a chance to relax, their rustic tranquility is broken
up by a skirmish with the ass-kicking squad, until the final showdown.
The fairly simple plot comes across like a Murderous Seventies Cavemen on Gilligan's
Island as both sides use their ingenuity to come up with various ways to do each
other in. Despite a fair amount of breasts, blood, bullets, and bravado, though,
Terminal Island never rises to the inspired level of something like Caged
Heat. Instead, it plods along in a rather workmanlike fashion, with neither much
directorial flair nor obvious gaffes. Still, there's the curvaceous Davis (gracious!),
plus a scruffy Selleck turning in a particle-board, gimme-my-check performance and
The Hills Have Eyes' Whitworth. Also, you won't want to miss the theme song,
"Too Damn Bad," croaked out by a third-rate Johnny Cash imposter. One of
the few women directors of the Seventies, Rothman, another one-time associate of
Roger Corman, independently produced this film with her husband, Charles S. Swartz.
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