Bubbles Cliquot is a beautiful and sweet transgender performer; her fellow trans-ladies decide to take her out for an after party to help her relax after showing up to a gig with a black eye. They setout to go meet some guys who are looking to party instead find it's a trap set by Boner, a man who hates Bubbles for fooling him about who she really was and wants revenge in the form of bloodshed. After waking up from her coma and finding out two of her friends are dead; Bubbles, Pinky, and Rachel are lacing up their boots, putting on the war paint, and are going to kick some ass.
In the world of drive-in, midnight, grindhouse, cult, trash cinema - there isn't much out there that hasn't been done to put a new spin on old sub-genres and plotlines, especially in the rape-revenge arena. Writer and director Israel Luna has actually managed to bring a new spin on an old classic and has brought exploitation-trash into a John Waters-esque world of transvestites. Even though as a result Israel and his movie "Ticked off Trannies with Knives" has been shunned by the gay and transgender communities for making light of the life style and real-life violence that affects those people. I think they couldn't be anymore wrong, because after watching "Ticked off Trannies with Knives" I can say that I never want to get on a transvestites' bad side.
The movie's plot comes from the bond held between the transgender ladies and how they come together to protect their sister and friend, Bubbles Cliquot, who shows up a black eye. Of course all of Bubbles' friends are ready to throw down with whoever did this especially their own big-mama, Pinky La 'Trimm, who looks after all the girls. Bubbles passes it off as being no big deal and tries to have it be just another night so, naturally, it becomes anything but when the man who gave Bubbles her shiner, Boner, springs a trap on her and two of her buddies to get revenge. Revenge for what, you may ask? Why, revenge for being duped by Bubbles good looks and being embarassed by the fact that she had something extra to offer that most women don't. After the trap is sprung, it leaves Bubbles in a coma and two of her friends dead. When she finally comes to; she sets out along with Pinky and Rachel to get revenge on Boner and his scumbag friends. And you better believe they're bringing knives to the party.
Now before anyone gets their hopes up of expecting some sort of sleazy or ultraviolent rape-revenge tale with persons of the trans-persuasion, you need to understand one important aspect: "Ticked off Trannies with Knives" is a black-comedy. The movie sets out to pay homage to exploitive cult movies but it does so with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek and borrows a lot of its humor and style from the wild world of John Waters' movies. It's not this whacky-hoo-haa stupid shit that's done in awful movies like "Isle of the Damned" but instead takes the piss out of the "seriousness" of a rape-revenge movie by having eccentric characters and odd little quirks. Such as having Bubbles wake up from her coma with a lisp; it's hard for any situation to be serious when you have characters asking a vigilante to repeat what they had just said because nobody can understand what they're saying.
Personally, I enjoyed the added humor and odd assortment of characters and situations; it helped in breaking up the monotony of being another "grindhouse throwback". My problem with the movie comes from the fact that it plays on grindhouse clichés that actually don't exist, like missing film reels. The other thing is the movie is clearly inspired by the likes of Tarantino and his make-believe world of what grindhouse movies are. So it features the ridiculous scene of our trans-heroes being trained by a martial-arts expert, even though you don't get to see the full scene because of a "missing reel". The movie also takes a page from Tarantino's book by featuring dialogue that goes from inept to hilarious, but often has little to do with anything of importance or relevance to the actual movie.
While Israel Luna's influences are more than obvious when you watch "Ticked off Trannies with Knives" it still brought enough of its own material to the table to make it a very entertaining watch. It's the kind of homage movie that's done right; while paying respect to the movies and filmmakers that inspired it they still put enough of their own glamorous twist on it, which it blends in seamlessly. While this movie is definitely not for those who are uncomfortable with the characters being transvestites and the fact that it is not a full blown intense and hardcore rape-revenge flick. I really dug it and appreciated it for the fact that Israel and everyone else went into the movie ribbing those genres and genre titles because this neo-grindhouse trend and throwbacks are becoming really tiresome. It was nice to sit back and see a movie do things differently by having the characters that it does, be entertaining, and wanting to make me laugh rather than trying to shock me.