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Movie Review : 'Never Too Young' A Sleazy Stew


"Never Too Young to Die" (citywide) is more cinematic slumgullion--another reeking Mulligan's stew of a movie into which the film makers have tossed everything within reach, trying frantically to bring it to a high boil.

You want James Bond? You want high-tech teens? You want gymnastics? You want drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll? You want car chases and chopper wrecks? You want vanity in a bikini? (And out of it?) You want explosions, one-against-a-hundred bazooka battles, and chases in the sewers? Hang on a while. If it moves, and it's sleazy or violent, producer-writer Steven Paul's team will try to grab it.

The whole movie is like a chase in a sewer; you get the definite illusion of floundering through offal, with bombs going off all around you. "Never Too Young to Die" isn't just bad. It's aggressively bad: bad with a vengeance.

The movie charts the scheme of vicious hermaphrodite rock star Ragnar (Gene Simmons of "Kiss") to blackmail Los Angeles by poisoning its reservoirs.

This horrible plot--both Ragnar's and Paul's--hinges on a floppy disc stolen by dashing CIA agent Stargrove (George Lazenby), and passed on to dashing son, Lance (John Stamos). Complicating matters further is a CIA agent who's "gone over to the other side." (But which other side? The international conspiracy of punks, groupies and "Road Warrior" rejects?)

It's the kind of movie where everyone involved should be thoroughly ashamed--but director Gil Bettman throws in so many snazzy shots, and the editors jack up the pace enough, that you're often compelled to watch it despite yourself. Bettman, like many of today's newer directors, seems purely a shotmaker: The performances are hyped-up, empty and grotesque. Simmons pitches himself somewhere between Divine and "Rocky Horror's" Tim Curry; Stamos is likable but vacant; and the leading lady gives something close to "vanity acting."


A Paul Releasing Inc. presentation. Producer Steven Paul. Director Gil Bettman, Script Paul, Anton Fritz. Executive producers Hank Paul, Dorothy Koster Paul. Camera David Worth. Sets Patrick Wright. With John Stamos, Vanity, Gene Simmons, George Lazenby, John Anderson.

Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.

MPAA rating: R (under 17 requires an accompanying parent or adult guardian).

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