Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace

written by Ian Driscoll

directed by Lee Demarbre

starring Phil Caracas, Jeff Moffet, Nancy Riehle and Josh Grace as Bigfoot


review by Stephen Notley

Laughs abound in Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace, a satisfyingly idiotic kung-fu gangabang from Canadian Lee Demarbre, the fellow who brought us Jesus Christ Vampire Killer, an blasphemous oddball mix of weird gags and camera tricks to simulate martial arts where none exist.

The title of Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace invokes porn, and indeed, HkatPN feels much like the 70s-era action-porn of the type made by Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights. It's got that grotty, kept-in-a-damp-cupboard-for-thirty-years film quality. It's got the clunky, badly synched sound where practically every gesture comes with a kung-fu "whup!" sound.  It's got the absurd plotting and the cheaply-staged violence that breaks out for no good reason. It's got everything except for the porn.

Though it does have tits. Not naked, sadly, but certainly big, wrapped in tight white shirts or encased in straining bikini cups. The movie makes no apologies for its open invitation to the audience to look at the boobs; there's even a catchy song, "Nice… Tits!", and when Harry throws down against the bustiest of the many women he lays a lickin' to, he spends the whole fight punching her in the rack.

Harry himself is a grudgingly appealing hero, a skinnier Scott Bakula lookalike with a growling Quebecois accent given to cracks like "Smells like fish, feels like pain!" or "East meets West? More like East meets Fist!" True to his name his knuckles are hairy indeed, all the better to hit people with, which he does with gusto and single-minded determination under the apparent aegis of the Canadian government for the safety and security of us all, which usually involves beating up Bigfoot or women. Sure, he hits women -- a lot! Like with croquet mallets!-- but this seems more like admirable gender blindness on his part than any particular grudge against chicks; certainly none of the ladies involved, the nun assassins and the ninja chick or the museum harpies, seem to expect any quarter given in battle on the basis of their sex.

And so Harry beats his way through the movie in rough-n-tumble Quebecois style, sometimes hitting people who aren't female, like when he tangles with a pair of pursesnatchers (as the tune "Purse Snatcher" wails in the background), one of whom slices off half his own moustache and throws it in Harry's face before Harry turns around and pulls some serious rocklock jujitsu on him. All crazy nonsense, but oddly endearing. Every so often one of these strange jokes comes in like a curveball and hits you in the gut, some half-baked one-liner from Harry or flailing fishchuk or frankly hilarious bit of one-upping the faces on Canadian currency.

At 116 minutes Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace is slightly long, particularly as the punch-whoever-pops-up plot leaves one wondering what has to happen for the movie to be over. But it's better to leave a meal feeling slightly stuffed than still hungry, and with Santos the hope of Mexico and the paddleboat chase and Harry's doppelganging brother Fuzzy and little white string tops on ample girls, Pearl Knuckles has plenty of stuffing. Knocked out of people, that is!