“Cruising Purgatory” tries to sell itself as a “demented black comedy,” but never achieves a level above puerile trash. This movie is offensive in more ways than one. Besides the racial insensitivity (mispronouncing Arab as A-Rab), and irrelevant religious criticism, this movie expects people to give up two hours of their time to watch it.
Charlie (Ken Arguelio) is a hit man who never lets his personal life get in the way of his work. So, when he’s hired to kill his best friend Johnny (James Ward Dean, double check), he accepts the job. After doing away with his childhood friend, Charlie takes his stripper girlfriend, Lulu (Lori Messuri), down to Mexico to lay low for a while. Soon after arriving, Charlie’s conscious begins to catch up with him. The ghost of Johnny begins to show up in the strangest of places. After confusing Lulu for Johnny’s ghost and almost killing her, Lulu packs up her bags and heads back, leaving Charlie to himself and his demons. At this point the film follows Lulu’s life, or more accurately, the movie moves from Twiddle Dee to Twiddle Dumb. Lulu is a stripper who always dreamed of dancing for men ever since childhood. Memories of her deceased mother still haunt her, and her abusive, bad wart-make-up father isn’t much help in the consoling department. One thing leads to another, and the final show down between Lulu and her father draw to a predictable climax. Lulu’s chapter wears out its welcome much faster than the first episode. Ahhhhh, a sigh of relief, the film is finally over, but wait…there’s more. The movie then decides to take a trip to purgatory land where Charlie and Johnny are reunited once again. I’ll stop because believe me, it doesn’t any get better.
I can’t begin to list the reasons why not to waste your time on this movie. The performances are straight out of a BAD Roger Corman production. All the characters are plastic renditions of past movie tough guys. Nothing amounts to much. Unless you’re the type of person who read the autobiography of wrestling superstar The Rock, you’ll probably want to pass on this one. Oh, and let me address those people out there who did read the life and times of The Rock. I know what you’re thinking, “stripper, macho hit-men, stripper, trip to Mexico, stripper…this movie can’t be too bad.” Well, I enjoy the old female nudity just as much as the next guy, but this film never delivers on the female skin; at least not enough to give up two hours of my time.