Like “The One Armed Executioner,” here’s another film about a handicapped avenger. The thing is, this is no exploitation flick and that’s where I was a little confused from the outset. Seeing the trailer beforehand, which features a wheelchair bound woman sliding down a wire from the roof of a building to the ground, I figured that I was in-store for an over the top cheeseball action film. Instead, I got a dull movie of the week.
Injured in the line of duty, CIA operative Samantha Martin finds herself having to live the rest of her life in a wheelchair. Unable to continue on with the job that left her like this, Samantha seeks management work for a corporate security company. Her job interview isn’t the best in the world and she finds out that the position that she was applying for was given to someone else because of her handicap. Like anybody else would do, she writes the head of the company a nastygram basically letting him know of the mistake he made in not hiring her. But unlike anyone else, she decides to sneak into the company building after-hours to personally place the letter right on the big man’s desk. She realizes that to do this she needs a little help, so she enlists the aid of her tech buddy to soup up her wheelchair in order to make it easier for her to get into the building undetected…and also to slide down wires. After such major preparation, I figured she had more in store for this guy than just placing a letter on his desk, but after watching her roll her way up to his office, that’s exactly all that she does. I figure if you’re that pissed off, you’re going to want to at least hide dog s**t in his desk over leaving a nasty letter. Anyways, the big man comes back unexpectedly and this is where Samantha discovers that he’s at the head of some sort of chemical weapons ordeal. Deciding to take matters into her own hands, she enlists the help of her tech buddy once again as well as her ex-boyfriend who’s good with computers and a couple of ex-CIA operatives — one who’s said to be a little nutty and the other who’s missing most of his hearing. Together, they devise a plan to take down this handicap hater and put an end to his chemical weapons dealings.
I wasn’t surprised to find out that director Jenni Gold is handicapped herself, as well as her leading actress, because “Ready, Willing and Able” is more of a comment on the overlooked abilities of the handicapped rather than the balls out action movie that it pretends to be. A heavy-handed comment at that. You’re rarely ever given the chance to forget the injustices that the handicapped have to put up with. This does a lot to take away from the fun of the action in the movie. But there’s another problem right there — the action isn’t fun at all. In fact, the entire feature has a stiff, made for 80’s television feel about it. All except for one bizarre scene in a nudie bar that features both male and female dancers. Holy crap! Do these places actually exist or is this just the filmmaker trying to be edgy? Well, edgy this film is not.
I know that Jenni Gold was trying to put across the message that there is nothing that handicapped people can’t do that anybody else can, but what “Ready, Willing and Able” really makes clear is that action filmmaking should be left to action filmmakers, whether they’re handicapped or not.