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Scarecrow on Seattle: BAD ATTITUDE

For the past few years, Scarecrow Video has been contributing reviews of movies made in the Pacific Northwest to the Seattle Office of Film + Music's e-newsletter. We're now proud to be able to share these reviews on our site as well.






Bad Attitude (1993)

Mono-monikered actor Leon stars as a typical "plays by his own rules" cop with a bad attitude in this atypical low-budget crime movie. Leon is Eddie Johnson, a police detective (with a last name) hard at work fighting the war on drugs. His ambitions are compromised when he ends up on the outs with the police department after he accidentally shoots an innocent bystander and his partner gets killed. Despite stern words from his superiors, Detective Johnson continues his investigation. He soon crosses paths with a blind street preacher named Zeke and a mysterious Vietnamese woman named Mai Lei. Mai slinks around in leather miniskirts and tempts Leon with her sexy ways until we learn she is part of a team of highly skilled Vietnamese assassins. She then proceeds to unleash a can of whoop ass in a most timely manner. The villains are Mendez and Panama, an odd pair of androgynous drug-pushers (played by two cross-dressing actresses) who drive around in an Econoline van. Even though it is fairly obvious these baddies are not dudes, Leon and the rest of the cast don't figure it out until the film's climax.

While Bad Attitude is a little lacking in the action department (which is surprising as the director is a former stuntman) it is jam-packed with local eye candy. Zeke does the majority of his anti-drug preaching at the corner of East Jefferson and 13th in the Central District. While pursuing their agenda of total domination of Seattle's drug trade, the asexual duo hassle junkies at Hing Hay Park and enjoy a picnic at South Passage Point Park (that funny little park under the I-5 bridge near Eastlake). Leon rides his Triumph motorcycle all over town, providing constant glimpses of classic landmarks like The Hat and Boots, The P-I Globe, the Kingdome, and the pink rotating Elephant Car Wash sign. He also rolls through scenic neighborhoods like Alki Beach, Ballard, and Lower Queen Anne and meets up with a police pal at a diner on Greenwood Avenue that might be Yanni's Greek Restaurant, but the place sure looks different 20 years later. Several scenes take place in bars, including The Buckaroo Tavern (R.I.P.) and a gay bar called Ramon's on Ballard Avenue. The space is actually the old Owl Café, now home to the Conor Byrne Pub. It's nice to view such a variety of Jet City sights in such a low-budget film and see numerous beloved businesses (like the late Fallout Records) thanked in the closing credits. It is also pleasing to see such a racially diverse film with many characters of multiple ethnic backgrounds come out of Seattle. Leon served as one of the producers so I wonder if he helped fill the cast with people of color. Bad Attitude was made in 1990 but was mostly forgotten; it wasn't released until a few years later, hot on the heels of Leon's high profile role as a Jamaican in the bobsledding comedy Cool Runnings.

-Spenser Hoyt

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