Hot Tamale is not great entertainment, it's a derivative action comedy in which a young naïve man (Randy Spelling) decides to take his life into his own hands and embarks on a road trip to Los Angeles to make it as a drummer in a salsa band.

On the way Harlan stops off at a roadside café and encounters the mysterious Jude (Jason Priestley) who is on the run from a couple of gangsters, Jude hides a small bag in Harlan's car, which Harlan doesn't discover until he arrives in LA where he plans on staying with his Puerto Rican buddy Caesar (Matt Cedeño).

Copy picture

After his first night in LA, Harlan awakes to find Caesar gone, but in his place is Caesar's friend, the lovely Tuesday Blackwell (Diora Baird). Baird is the movie's only appeal and that's only because she incredibly beautiful and features in a seductive strip scene.

Caesar has arranged an audition for Harlan with the local salsa band featuring local salsa legend Johnny Polanco. The band rehearses in the middle of a rough Latino neighbourhood where a nice boy from Wyoming like Harlan is a 'fish-out-of-water.' But Harlan surprises everyone - he really can play timbales and the band takes him on. Meanwhile, the two ruthless thugs chasing Jude have discovered that Harlan's got the missing bag. As has Jude's former partner in crime, femme fatale Riley (Carmen Electra). The thugs kidnap Tuesday and leave word that if Harlan wants to see her alive, he had better come up with what they're looking for - a fortune's worth of diamonds last seen in Jude's bag. But there are no diamonds in the bag.

Harlan throws himself into a wild rescue mission that has him running one step ahead of the cops and headlong into the grips of a pair of ferocious killers.

Hot Tamale looks and feels like it was put together by a group of friends during a weekend where one person placed a call to a couple of buddies and suggested they make a movie. The film tries to puta unique spin on the crime genre but falls flat on its face, writer-director Damian is no Tarantino and what appears on screen is uninspiring soap melodrama. Its shot like a bad TV movie, cast with almost-name actors and lacks pace and panache to push it out of its more than fitting straight-to-DVD hell, a place in my opinion that it so richly deserves.

Reviewed on: 02 Sep 2008
Share this with others on...
Hot Tamale packshot
A man set on a career in salsa goes on a road trip that leads his path to cross with criminals.
Amazon link

Director: Michael Damian

Writer: Janeen Damian, Michael Damian

Starring: Randy Spelling, Diora Baird, Carmen Electra, Jason Priestley, Mike Starr, Matt Cedeño, James Best, Beth Grant, Sean Blakemore, Richard Riehle, Harland Williams

Year: 2006

Runtime: 102 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


Search database: