Mad Heidi is a total blast of adrenaline fuelled exploitation cinema, and worth checking out if you’re a fan of the genre.
PLOT: Swiss mountain girl Heidi is abducted by brutal government troops and must defend herself and fight a war against a cheese-fueled machinery of hate.
REVIEW: I wasn’t familiar with the Heidi character before Mad Heidi but I know she’s quite ingrained in the childhood of many Europeans. So I can only imagine the reaction of someone who grew up with this character, only to see her kick so much ass. Because this is a revenge story more akin to Kill Bill than something you’d be reading to your children at night. From a crazy dictator who thinks the biggest crime in the world is being lactose intolerant to an officer with a very specific kink, this is exploitation in every way. And that’s why I had such a blast with it.
Alice Lucy is fantastic as Heidi, a woman who watches the love of her life die violently right in front of her. If anything, I really wanted more of her being a badass because, as is, she doesn’t show up until a bit of a ways into the film. Then she has to train in order to become to the badass Heidi, so she doesn’t even reach her final form until a decent chunk of the film. If anything, this just made me want a sequel. Because while Mad Heidi may be the title, we don’t get enough “mad” for my liking.
Casper Van Dien absolutely steals the show as President Meili. He’s chewing every last bit of scenery in the best way possible. He’s bringing this Germanic Swiss accent that sounds a bit like a mix between Tommy Wiseau and Franz. If anything, I wanted even more of him in it because his scenes feel like they’re over too quickly. I also really wanted more interaction between him and Heidi. For as much as he’s the main antagonist, their dynamic doesn’t pack as much behind it. She clearly has a lot more hatred towards Kommandant Knorr (RIP Goat Peter).
Mad Heidi is a grindhouse film in every sense of the word. It’s over the top, bombastic, and absolutely nuts during most of its runtime. And I would expect nothing less. While I wish that had gone a little further in parts, I feel most of that is because of the story. Because when they need to go the distance with a gag, they pull it off with skill. The Grindhouse opening almost disarms you and sets your expectations low enough that when they bust out the beautiful cinematography and landscapes. The filmmakers are taking full advantage of the Swiss Alps and provide so many jaw dropping shots.
But I’d be lying if I said the entire film worked for me. There are long stretches where the film just kind of meanders. When they go for the violence, its pretty extravagant but maybe I’m just too much of a gore hound these days but I wanted more. They have a whole training video that parodies the Starship Troopers “I’m doing my part” to perfection. There’s still a certain cheese present like characters appearing out of nowhere and sound effects for every major movement. But all of this is charming. Fingers crossed the teased Heidi and Klara actually becomes a reality. Because this film has done the heavy lifting of setting up a fun world.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/mad-heidi-review/