Plot: Joe (Frank Stallone) is a longshoreman freshly arrived in Los Angeles, where he and his best friend Bill (Christopher Mitchum) have a short layover. As the two travel almost all the time, they’re both averse to commitment when it comes to the ladies, though both are soon test on that front. When Joe meets Anne (Karen Mayo-Chandler), he falls hard for her, even though she has a checkered lifestyle. She has a drug problem and works as a prostitute, but Joe sees a real future with her, so he steps in to try to help her turn things around. Her pimp has other plans however, as he has no intentions of losing one of his girls, so he kidnaps Anne. This sparks a deep rage in Joe, who rolls into action to rescue the woman of his dreams, even if it means battling a pimp and all of his criminal minions.
Entertainment Value: Savage Harbor is an 80s action b movie and while it might not do much to stand out from the pack, it does have a colorful cast and some oddball dialogue to help it out. Frank Stallone’s obsession with avocados might be enough to lure in some cult film fans, but even beyond that fruit based chaos, the writing here makes some strange choices. I would rank the dialogue as the main draw here, as it provides some of the most memorable moments and thanks to a game cast, all those head scratching lines are put to good use. The narrative is straight forward and affords us the wild scene with Frank Stallone’s emotional range put to the test, while side threads do sneak in, such as the exotic dancer romance. But while the plot isn’t memorable, all of the plot holes are fun to take in and for fans of b movies, there is a good deal of humorous performances and just plain odd moments. Not as outlandish as some 80s action movies, but Savage Harbor does have a weird vibe throughout. I’d recommend it just for Frank Stallone, but anyone into 80s action should sneak a peek.
This one has Frank Stallone in the lead and that alone will likely help you gauge your interest, but I think he is fun to watch. I wouldn’t call skills remarkable and even he seems to dislike Savage Harbor, but for fans of 80s action b movies, Stallone is a colorful and humorous performer. I like that he is given some ridiculous lines in this movie, but he delivers them with zeal, as if they’re written in solid gold. I think he could have dialed up his performance quite a bit and gotten away with it, but he stays mostly reserved, save a few outbursts here and there. I have to think b movie fans know about what to expect from Stallone, but I think this is one of his more interesting efforts and as I said, he is fun to watch here. Also on hand is b movie veteran Christopher Mitchum, who has a supporting role, but he has a good amount of screen time and shares some scenes with good old Frank. The cast also includes Greta Blackburn, Lisa Loring, and Anthony Caruso, while Carl Monson is the film’s director.
The Disc: As part of the Vinegar Syndrome Archive series, Savage Harbor has given a special hardbox slipcover, as well as a new 2k restoration, sourced from the original camera negative. At this point, fans can bank on excellent visual treatments from Vinegar Syndrome and this release is no exception, as the movie looks much better than expected. The print is very clean, with minimal marks or debris, but the natural grain and texture remain intact. The colors are natural and contrast is stark, while detail is strong and provides surprising depth. Another home run effort from Vinegar Syndrome, one of the most reliable labels in the business. The extras here include an audio interview with cinematographer Jack Beckett and a video interview with star Frank Stallone. Beckett’s session lasts nearly half an hour, while Stallone’s is shorter, but quite candid and humorous. This is a limited edition release, with the hardbox slipcover and a double sided poster to sweeten the deal.