Avenging Angel (1985)

Adolescence is an inherently difficult time, but it can be particularly fraught with anxiety for clean-cut 15-year-old honor students moonlighting as Hollywood hookers, if the messy double life of the protagonist from 1984’s Angel is any evidence. Released a year later, but set, as several characters duly note, four years after the original, 1985’s Avenging Angel finds the titular expert in the erotic arts (Betsy Russell) off the streets and high on life, armed with a college degree and dreams of becoming a lawyer. But Russell is forced to trade in her graduation robe for her old tube-top and micro-mini when Robert F. Lyons, the cop who got her off the streets, is gunned down in a brutally derivative, synth-pop-powered shootout. Determined to put her college education to good use, Russell goes undercover as “Angel” to track down her mentor’s killer. But behind every unlikely crime-fighter, there's an even unlikelier team of crime-fighting flunkies, so before Russell goes out to seek vengeance, she reunites with such beloved Angel veterans as geriatric urban cowboy Rory Calhoun, eccentric lesbian Susan Tyrrell, and Steven M. Porter, who reprises his role as the sinister-sounding “Yo Yo Charlie.” Once her all-star team of street kooks has been assembled, Russell begins working her old beat, where she not only tolerates creepy street performers, but also puts up with sleazy would-be johns who assume she’s willing to trade sex for money solely because she looks and acts like a prostitute. Russell’s suggestive attire gets her busted in a raid, but her ability to blankly recite legal-sounding jargon in a dour monotone comes in handy in getting herself and a 13-year-old newbie released. Meanwhile, she and her crew come closer and closer to solving Lyons’ murder, which leads them to accidentally kill the son of a powerful mob kingpin. When the kingpin demands his son’s return, Russell and company resort to Weekend At Bernie’s-style corpse-ventriloquism to create the illusion that he's still alive. Alas, their ruse is discovered, but they persevere nevertheless, avenging Lyons’ death, wrapping up the loose ends, and paving the way for 1988’s Angel III: The Last Chapter—and to a lesser extent, 1993’s Angel 4: Undercover.

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