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 Three Honkies the Hard Way 
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"The way I saw it then and still see it now is that the biggest obstacle to progress in America
is our conditioned susceptibility to the white man's program. Our minds have been colonized
by images of black humiliation, marginality, subservience, impotence and criminality that are
ubiquitous in mainstream American cinema. These are the supposed self-images seen when
African-Americans look into the socio-cultural mirror of the cinema. We've been violated,
confused and drained by this colonization and from this brutal, calculated genocide the most
vicious racism has grown. It was with this starting point in mind and intention to reverse the
process that I went in to cinema in the first fuckin' place."

- Melvin Van Peebles, "Classified X"






"Three Honkies the Hard Way": in which Blevo, Colonel Kurz, Mod Hip and their brother that the pusher put out of commission, Derninan (who may cameo with a guest review here and there), have had enough of the Man! We've each selected a number of blaxploitation films we've not yet seen to view and report on at our own pace along with several already-beloved titles to highlight as entries in the soul cinema canon.


Blevo

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As a white male in Midwestern America, I know all too well what it is to feel the icy cold tingle of the Man’s foot up my ass. I relate to my soul brotha’s and sista’s from the documentation of their righteous fight against the insurmountable honky forces of evil. These so called “Blacksploitation” films (a moniker imposed by the Man to try and turn the struggles of soul brotha’s and sista’s in to some sort of joke) capture what it is to live on the streets. Our heroes are the hustlers and the pimps, the saints and the soldiers, and everything that is REAL in this world (including garish purple suits and larger than life hats). So sit back and enjoy the show mothah-fuckahs, this shit is about to get funky.


Colonel Kurz

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"Blaxploitation" is a bit of misnomer. It suggests that black people were being exploited, which is not really the case. Many of the defining blaxploitation movies were made by black directors with black stars for black audiences, mostly urban. It's true that even more were made by white directors, especially when Hollywood caught onto the trend. But does that make it exploitation? Sure, in a way any time someone offers to fulfill an audience need by making them pay money, it's exploitation, but we don't call "Death Wish" whitesploitation, even though it mostly panders to a very white audience.

It was originally coined blaxploitation by, depending on who you're talking to, either a white writer for Variety or someone in the NAACP because its subject matter of sex, violence and “super-cool” individualism was the opposite of what civil rights movements in the early seventies viewed as appropriate black imagery. But almost nobody involved in the actual films ever saw it that way. After about seventy years of mostly being sidelined in Hollywood films as mammies, slaves or butlers in bit parts, slowly black actors like Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier made their way onto the screen in leading roles, but these were black roles that where clean to the point of sainthood, with perfect civilized upper class diction, no personality faults to speak of and no kind of sexuality. Black people that lived up to what white America wanted of them.

What blaxploitation, for lack of a better word (although soul cinema might be that better word, that's an even newer term that was slapped on the 'genre' upon DVD release, so let's stick to the more problematic word for now), offered was something new. Black urban heroes on the screen, that frequently “stick it to the man” and don't conform to dominant (white) society standards, that definitely were very sexual and powerful indeed. Sure, partly they adhered to and created new stereotypes, or were often at least partly stereotypical, but at the same time they were empowering in their refusal to play by the white man's rules. This often resulted in criminal behavior, sometimes portrayed as the only option left to black inner city inhabitants that also want to achieve the American Dream.

There was often a difference between the protagonists of white and black director's movies. While the heroes of “white” movies often also inflicted hurt on their own black community (like in "Black Caesar") for personal gain, which is emphasized, for which they might be punished in the end, the main characters of “black” movies are a sort of black folk heroes who mainly fight the white power and superstructure and get away with it, like Shaft, Sweetback and Priest ("Superfly"). It's all the above-mentioned subversiveness, that characterizes most blaxploitation movies, that I love about the genre. There's also a realistic feel to a lot of these, in the sense that they were shot on location in the streets they depicted, not unlike Italian neorealism. Of course there's also the soundtracks, that are so elemental to these movies and determine the atmosphere that makes them so pleasant to watch.



Mod Hip

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From cinema's beginnings the white man has called the shots with a white audience in mind. As early as when Thomas Edison first put images to film in the 1890s began the most widely influential characterization yet of blacks as ever-quaking, watermelon-chomping hoofers - a stereotype placing our brothers and sisters only a rung or two above apes and ultimately, however unintentionally, keeping the brown man down. Viewed from a white perspective, this could be and was revered as simple fun with no harm done, but subconsciously these characterizations grew inside brains both white and black. In all, even the most ingenuous, is the great educator propaganda, and in a fashion that still exists through media today, whites' prejudices were being seasoned and blacks were being further alienated and confused by their screen portrayals.

Come the end of WWII, once racism had been given even worse a reputation and America needed to embrace its status as a "melting pot", Hollywood introduced "the new negro". Though this was a more fleshed-out, less minstrel approach to black characters, whiteness still reigned in the mainstream and "the new negro" (and "pinky" films, for that matter) only inflicted deeper insults through boxing in and subtle justification. All-black films reflecting genuine humanity but still plagued with the acceptance of white class supremacy were produced on tiny budgets and distributed to rare blacks-only theaters, but it wasn't until 1971 with Melvin Van Peebles' independent break "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" that studios realized good money was to be made from black audiences... and "Sweetback" wouldn't be anything without the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

It is fitting that the Panthers made "Sweetback" required viewing for all members thus spawning the blaxploitation wave (most prolific from 1971-'74) as it can easily be said that blaxploitation films perpetuate racism against whites within the black community, which was to an extent a mentality of the Malcolm X-inspired movement. So if I'm white, how come I love these films so much? Here's the thing - I think the vast majority of us everyday people, black, blue, white or green, can relate to being kept down by "the Man". I sure can, thereby I find it empowering to watch those who have famously been treated unfairly in reality and represented unfairly in film in unfair manners rise up in the public eye with supremely funky attitudes and fight for what's right.

Then, what are the parameters of blaxploitation? The more I look into them, the more vague they appear. Some may trace blaxploitation (an iffy label that may or may not mutate through the ages depending on who you're talking to) back decades upon decades while others confine it to the post-"Sweetback" '70s. I think it has more to do with subject matter. What is really being exploited, and what held more precedence - the message or the money? With this in mind, certain films regarded within the genre may not be as such at all. All kinds of discussions can and may be had over the origins and consequences of blaxploitation, but from where I sit a retaliation was needed, has proved mostly positive with its effects and sure makes for good moviegoing.




They bled our mommas. They bled our poppas. They won't bleed us.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:00 am
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Awesome.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:03 am
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.emosewA

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:04 am
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*drools all over the floor*


Fri May 06, 2011 6:04 am
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sweet ass :up:


Fri May 06, 2011 6:04 am
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Sister Shotgun wrote:
sweet ass :up:

Oh, there will be.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:06 am
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Dear three sirs,
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Fri May 06, 2011 6:09 am
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The OP music, by the by, is "Easin' In" from Edwin Starr's score to "Hell Up in Harlem", the sequel to "Black Caesar" (which was scored by James Brown).

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:12 am
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Mod Hip wrote:
Oh, there will be.

And hard ass.
Bad ass too.
And let's not forget about the whup ass*.

* = canned.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:14 am
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Awesome, but, will There Will Be Boss Negro?


Fri May 06, 2011 6:28 am
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I'm scared.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:31 am
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I approve.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:33 am
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Rdog wrote:
I approve.

Even with the noticeable cheezboiga deficit?

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:35 am
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Will Pam Grier get naked in this thread?

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:36 am
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dreiser wrote:
Will Pam Grier get naked in this thread?

On at least every other page.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:36 am
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Mod Hip wrote:
On at least every other page.

Well, there I've already gone and raised expectations too high.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:37 am
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Mod Hip wrote:
On at least every other page.


s/b fun

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:38 am
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A nice change of pace from most threads on the site, I like it.


Fri May 06, 2011 6:40 am
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Mod Hip wrote:
Even with the noticeable cheezboiga deficit?


Even with that. I am a fan of those movies and I really need to see more. Hoping this thread will help with some of that.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:42 am
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"They're gonna kill you, sure as shit, and all you're gonna have is that peace sign in your hand."


Billy Dee (whose Billy Dee Williams Enterprises co-produced) plays Johnny Johnson, an embodiment of the conflicted yet determined nature of late 1960s, early '70s black militants after hundreds of years of their race's oppression. Following a montage of galvanized black power, police cruelty and retaliation seemingly artistically influenced by "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song", we open on Johnny suffering a potentially fatal wound for the cause. As partners attempt to help him amidst a siege of pigs, Johnny reflects on events that flesh out the "hows" and conversations that exemplify the "whys" including altercations with complacent parents and irresolute acquaintances, conspiration with white liberals, being presumed a thief simply for operating a vehicle licensed to his Jewish boss, and checking the views of an old, white, unemployed man with a sign reading, "I am a brother too". Openly addressed are the acceptance and self-loathe many brothers and sisters were subconsciously taught through white media. D'Urville Martin ("Black Caesar", "Hell Up in Harlem", the "Boss Nigger" trilogy and more) and the luscious Pamela Jones ("Lamont Goes Karate" from the Redd Foxx-less stretch of season three "Sanford & Son") co-star in strong supporting roles.

Though I've yet to see director Oscar Williams' '78 "Death Drug", I'm ready to call "The Final Comedown" (based upon Jimmy Garrett's play "We Own the Night" and also unfittingly known as "Blast!" following a '76 re-cut) Williams' most important film. The man went on to make '73's heritage-heavy "Five on the Black Hand Side" (based upon Charlie L. Russell's eponymous play) and '76's "Hot Potato", a highly amusing departure of a sequel to the formulaic yet groovy-as-hell Jim Kelly and Scatman Crothers-starring "Black Belt Jones" (which he wrote and supervised). "Comedown" is easily the most powerful of these (not that the chopsocky lite of "Hot Potato" was going for as much, exactly) and thus far the only of this cinematic wave to make me want to weep (on multiple occasions, at that).

Fresh out the thread gate I'm already questioning whether a film is actually "blaxploitation" or not (a question I, coincidentally, also maintain for "Five on the Black Hand Side"). On the basest of levels I suppose yes, "The Final Comedown" must be, as it features strong black leads and certainly would not have been able to be put in the mainstream pre-"Sweetback". The obvious "exploitation" root of "blaxploitation" implies to me that something is being blatantly exploited, sometimes to a point of relative ridiculousness, for the sole purpose of entertainment, for example biker counter-culture, graphic sex and/or gore in any number of '60s and '70s flicks from the likes of Herschell Gordon Lewis and Al Adamson (who also directed Jim Kelly in '77's "Black Samurai"). Here we have serious subject matter carried out so to educate about the black and white liberal plights and perspectives of post-Civil Rights Movement militants. Johnny Johnson is no "black private dick who's a sex machine to all the chicks", he's a Panther wrestling with what's right and what needs to be done to achieve it within a very real urban landscape. This is not unlike Melvin Van Peebles' son Mario's '95 film "Panther", chronicling the Black Panther story and profiling its leader, Huey P. Newton (who appears on a propaganda poster on Johnny's wall early in "Comedown"), yet we don't call that "blaxploitation"… why, because it came out in the '90s? "The Return of Super Fly" also came out in that decade and what do we call it (granted it was the very early '90s)? The more I examine it the more I agree a rebranding is indeed called for. Confining the genre to a certain timespan is appropriate, however, as continuing to label films based on their leads' skin color too far beyond the initial call is unthinkable. Of course there's much more to what can classify "blaxploitation" than just skin color, but that's what got me questioning here in the first place, isn't it?



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Fri May 06, 2011 6:44 am
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Rdog wrote:
I am a fan of those movies and I really need to see more. Hoping this thread will help with some of that.

That's the general idea behind this for us, too. Or, speaking for myself, I guess, for me. Tough to go on saying I love a whole wave of cinema while only having seen 25-30 of its titles!

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:47 am
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This thread is already fucking amazing

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:47 am
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Greatness so far.

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Fri May 06, 2011 6:50 am
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Fiendish Dr. Mod. Your Honkiness treachery knows no bounds.


Fri May 06, 2011 6:58 am
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:fresh:

*pays the cost to be the boss*


Fri May 06, 2011 7:13 am
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ugh coloreds.

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Fri May 06, 2011 8:02 am
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Avenge me with your words!


Fri May 06, 2011 9:48 am
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Wandering Soul of Derninan wrote:
Avenge me with your words!

Wish I had a Black Gunn screenshot handy right about now :P

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Fri May 06, 2011 9:58 am
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Wandering Soul of Derninan wrote:
Avenge me with your words!


I'm having a tough time grappling with the existential implications of Derninan being dead.

Also I was really busy this afternoon, which is a great thing being a business owner, but I haven't had a chance to write my first entry. Soon though, I promise.

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Fri May 06, 2011 10:11 am
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Blevo wrote:
Also I was really busy this afternoon, which is a great thing being a business owner, but I haven't had a chance to write my first entry. Soon though, I promise.

It's okay, we're all on CP time here.

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Fri May 06, 2011 10:15 am
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Mod Hip wrote:
It's okay, we're all on CP time here.


Hah!

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Fri May 06, 2011 10:16 am
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wuz here, yo

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Fri May 06, 2011 11:35 am
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Blevo wrote:
I'm having a tough time grappling with the existential implications of Derninan being dead.
'E's not dead, 'e's resting.

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Sat May 07, 2011 1:53 am
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"Anyone asks what happened, you tell 'em you been hit by a truck."



Hide your mommas! Jonathan Kaplan follows up his 1973 Jim Brown vehicle "The Slams" with '74's energetic "Truck Turner" in which "Isaac Hayes, the big brother of soul, [makes] a new kind of music… and it's mean jive." Hayes' laid back, well-rounded lead earns his bread as a skip tracer and makes his way by orchestrating destruction to his benefit. A respect for equal morality is his driving purpose, not letting potential advantages of post-Civil Rights blackness become an excuse, but that doesn't mean foulmouthed whiteys ain't getting their due in the meantime.

I feel as though "Truck Turner" is a lesser-known flick, and now that I've seen it I can't understand why. Without a single dull moment it's a perfectly paced, highly energetic wad of baadasssssery with a chemical supporting cast including Yaphet Kotto, Nichelle Nichols, Alan Weeks, Sam Laws and Scatman Crothers, all thoroughly humorous in their up tight characterizations. Even the love interest's pet cat has impeccable comic timing. The story, more or less about Truck taking out pushers so fly they could have saved Pan-Am, doesn't come spoonfed or in a particularly formulaic manner. The cinematography coolly cuts between careful composition and guerilla-style handheld as Hayes' score (you know it) echoes "Shaft" while defining itself in its own right (any "Kill Bill" fan will recognize the main theme from the Bride's pre-toe-wiggling hospital escape). The parade of open-shirted hot chocolate (with sprinkles of macadamia) just about rivals King George's feisty harem from "Coffy". Rob Zombie fans will recognize Nichols' line, "I want you to come out there and shake your asses, proper, y'hear? Now get out there and make it look good!" from "Dead Girl Superstar" off "The Sinister Urge". Put simply, there's a lot here to love.

And as if that wasn't enough, the action takes no prisoners. An early car chase complete with an unnecessary explosion sees the chased seeming to purposefully take out everything in his path including fire hydrants, flower stands and Jewish bagel carts. The climactic hospital confrontation goes out-and-out insane with child patients as hostages, doctors pulling pistols and a shootout across an in-use birthing suite.

If you're a blaxploitation fan or one of the uninitiated toying with unassured curiosity, wanting to see what it's all about without risking a haphazardly built film that merely gets by on soul, you can't go wrong with "Truck Turner".



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Sat May 07, 2011 4:07 am
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I have played that soundtrack many times. I remember the film petering out in the second half though... of course that could also have something to do that I watched it at a friends house in the beginning of the afternoon after an all night party at his place. I only really remember Hayes' big gun and this scene:
Image
I should try it again sometimes probably. Oh, and I like your format - which means I'll be copying it until I think of something more original. :P

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Sat May 07, 2011 5:24 am
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Colonel Kurz wrote:
I have played that soundtrack many times. I remember the film petering out in the second half though... of course that could also have something to do that I watched it at a friends house in the beginning of the afternoon after an all night party at his place. I only really remember Hayes' big gun and this scene:

A well laid out chase, indeed. The second half might lose a little bit that the first has going because prior to the pimps and pushers deciding to take Truck out for a cut of Gator's biz there's a chill "hang out movie" feel to a lot of it. My favorite scene is probably early on when Truck, his partner and their boss at the bail bonds place are just shooting the shit (well, it's fairly business-oriented but it has an easy, natural flow). I was still into it the whole way, though.

Colon L. Kurz wrote:
Oh, and I like your format - which means I'll be copying it until I think of something more original. :P

Hehe, thanks. It just kinda worked itself out. Not sure how long (or, I suppose, how often) the opening-credits-banner thing is gonna stick... depends on when I start encountering films that don't fit that mold.

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Sat May 07, 2011 5:29 am
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Good stuff, this.

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Sat May 07, 2011 6:16 am
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I'm impressed with the in-depth nature of the reviews so far.

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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
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Sat May 07, 2011 7:55 am
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His friends call him Mr. T. His enemies call for mercy!



That's right, the main character of this movie is named Mr. T. But the real star of this movie is Marvin Gaye. He doesn't feature in it, but his jazzy soul/funk soundtrack is maybe my favourite thing he's ever done and easily the best thing about this movie. It gives the movie a groove and cool that makes it glide along with ease. It's also a natural fit for Mr. T., who like Sweetback and Shaft, is a black folk hero in the sense that he works outside of the white system and gets away with it. Mr. T. fixes trouble. He's a sort of community godfather, pool hall owner (and shark), bail bondsman, a community charity, keeps cops in his pocket, offers community protection and holds a private detective license. When a small black child get's hurt because the white building owner doesn't fix broken stairs, he goes up the man's office and makes it clear that the man better fix the building and pay for the hospital bills. T's so cool, he hardly has to threaten him. When people are bailed out by him, they know better than to skip town. When two small-time gangster friends, white and black, ask him for help to determine who's robbing their crap games, he agrees. This turns out to be a set-up to play him against local mobster Mr. Big and get them to kill each other, so they can take over both operations. Crossing Mr. T., however, is a GOB-level huge mistake.

He's simply too cool. He's introduced finishing dressing in a nice suit while a girl in a bikini looks on, and then he drives to a different part of town just to change into a different suit. He's a regular James Bond when it comes to women. That girl is the first of four woman he either beds, charms or seduces with ease, although he does really love one of them, whom he sends away when the going gets tough. Like with James Bond, we get to see very little of this though, the only nudity in the film is his naked torso while he changes. Mr. T is much more a character in the hard-boiled vein of Raymond Chandler and Mickey Spillane than fellow womanizer John Shaft, despite the script being written by the same man who co-wrote Shaft. In T's world, the law is something that bends and criminality is a moral grey area. And whatever problem Mr. T has to solve, he'll never go to the police for help. Even when his enemies frame him for murder, he makes it looks like self defense. And he never gives up. When the ruse is up, the bad guys are right to be afraid of him.

Director Ivan Dixon was an actor who worked in film, television and Broadway. He used to act in Hogan's Heroes, but more or less gave acting up to direct afterwards. After making Trouble Man in 1972, he would go on the next year to make the far more political blaxploitation The Spook Who Sat By The Door before returning to television. Trouble Man is not terribly original and light on the subtext that can make these films so interesting. But it is a very well made genre film with a cool visual style, that soundtrack of course, some great dialogue and slang, and strong, understated performances. Besides Robert Hooks as Mr. T. the movie features genre mainstays Julius Harris (Super Fly, Black Caesar) and Paula Kelly (Cool Breeze, Tough Guys) as mob boss Mr. Big and T's girlfriend. One of the villains is played by the Oscar nominated Paul Winfield, who would later fight racism in White Dog, be lectured by Khan on Admiral Kirk's crimes in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and be in charge of the investigation into a robot killer in The Terminator. Altogether, it's all quite smooth.




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Sat May 07, 2011 9:34 am
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Colonel Kurz wrote:
It's also a natural fit for Mr. T., who like Sweetback and Shaft, is a black folk hero in the sense that he works outside of the white system and gets away with it. Mr. T. fixes trouble. He's a sort of community godfather, pool hall owner (and shark), bail bondsman, a community charity, keeps cops in his pocket, offers community protection and holds a private detective license.

Ha, love characters like this :D Black Gunn is the main one popping to mind, while Black Belt Jones and his sensei Popa Byrd almost fit the bill when considered together. Of course, for those interested in it, this is precisely the type of character "Black Dynamite" was parodying.

Brother Kurz wrote:
...he does really love one of them, whom he sends away when the going gets tough.

If he were Truck Turner, he'd've framed her for petty theft to get her locked up for a short while, then bought her a kitten to make up for it.

Black Colonel wrote:
Director Ivan Dixon... ...would go on the next year to make the far more political blaxploitation The Spook Who Sat By The Door...

Oh nice, didn't realize he directed Trouble Man. As I mentioned (in the freeleech thread?) the other day, I caught that one just prior to getting into my list of picks for this thread and loved it. It's almost like a black "Fight Club".

dreiser wrote:
I'm impressed with the in-depth nature of the reviews so far.

Thanks, man. One of the immediate concerns when introducing the idea for the thread was that in some of these films' cases, all we can really think to say is, to quote Kurz, "funky". Sometimes these films can be redundant, and if we encounter as much as we go forth the reviews may in such cases be shorter (read: more likely to actually be read), but I think we have some great-looking titles lined up that will provide different things to discuss. For example, one of the films on my docket is x-rated (and not just because it was judged by an all-white jury). Then Blevo... heh, I'll be real interested to see what he comes up with. Kurz and I created lists of films we plan to cover and Blevo basically said "Cool, you jive turkeys just locked yo'selves in... now I can watch whatever I want from all that's left!"

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Sat May 07, 2011 12:27 pm
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Mod Hip wrote:
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"Anyone asks what happened, you tell 'em you been hit by a truck."



Finally, you include one that stars someone who was in one of my videos.

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YTMN's Remake Rematch Thread. Catalog Rounds 1-3
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I had fun. Thanks for reading!

The Future Unreels will also lose all its images on the same day. But just think about how many images Jedi has on Photobucket, and the other posters here.


Sat May 07, 2011 1:19 pm
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Gort wrote:
Finally, you include one that stars someone who was in one of my videos.

Oh?

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Sat May 07, 2011 1:31 pm
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Watched "Abar" this morning. What the what was that?? Very fun, but... just... whaaat??

*further teases later post detailing Abar's craziness*

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Sun May 08, 2011 7:09 am
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This thread has my heart at the moment.

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Sun May 08, 2011 7:18 am
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Rdog wrote:
This thread has my heart at the moment.


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Sun May 08, 2011 7:45 am
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"To be black is to be beautiful, but beautiful from the essence. We are the wise men come bearing the gift of our indestructible humanity."


Wow, this one's a doozy. "Abar" AKA "Abar: Black Superman" AKA "Abar, the First Black Superman" AKA" In Your Face" (a title under which the film inexplicably saw new cover art featuring an anonymous, magnum-wielding fatty disproportionately positioned behind a lazily sassy-looking black betty) comes to us from 1977, after blaxploitation's prime, as a home brew project by some fellow called Frank Packard, though that name may well be a consolidating invention (a la "The Final Comedown" director Oscar Williams' renaming to "Frank Arthur Wilson" upon that film's questionable re-release). A well-to-do black doctor (who frequently hears Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech in his head when he's alone) moves his family to an upper echelon white neighborhood only to meet with bigoted hatred blazing as strong as a hundred swastika-shaped suns and eventual protests ranging from goose-stepping sign wavers to beatings courtesy "Look Away, Dixieland"-whistling upstarts. Not a single white person comes close to liberality. The outward racism recalls a pre-Civil Rights era (even still appearing extreme), winding up odd and unintentionally humorous in its late '70s setting added to hilariously uninspired performances. Much of your everyday dialogue comes across just fine, but the plentitudes of shock and anger are delivered with enthusiasm so lacking it makes Peter Criss' lackadaisical line readings in "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park" look, well, at least Golden Globe-worthy.

I don't make practice of divulging spoilers in my write-ups, but I feel to convey the sheer nuttiness of "Abar" one does not simply walk into its mindset. Its black power is guarded by more than just MLK sound bites. There is a communal infection that does not sleep, and "the Man" is ever watchful. The ghetto is a barren wasteland riddled with pushers and condemnation and despair. See, Abar is a motivational speaker and leader of a vigilante justice squad, his ideals nestled somewhere twixt MLK and Malcolm X, and when he catches wind of his cross-town soul brother's plight he trades his protection services for the opportunity to become more powerful via a secret experiment the doctor has been needing a strong test subject for. No supermanning occurs until around the hour-and-fifteen mark at which point less than half an hour remains, but once that mark passes Abar's new psychokinetic powers essentially unleash a wave of biblical plagues on the neighborhood in concern. Whiteys are terrorized by rats and snakes, spaghetti becomes a plate of worms when negativity toward blacks is uttered and if anyone tries to run, hurricane-force winds sweep them away. This ending is screwier than the "Oh Happy Day" finale to "The Thing With Two Heads" and preaches that the answer is not equality through morality but the strange karmic consequence of eating worms for being a racist. The punishments are not relevant to the transgressions. Then, as a final footnote, out of what I can't stress enough as being absolutely nowhere, the next-door neighbor who started all the ruckus confesses she's actually ashamedly black and only living with whites because she has sickle-cell anemia.

For all the filler "Abar" takes us through - would-be family relative subplots, randomly birthed and loose-ended "Frankenstein" subtext and an Old West dream sequence depicting Abar as a drifter unfortunately named "Deadwood Dick" - it does present an interesting idea or two. As viewers, of course we are led to want the doctor's neighbors to finally accept him and his family. To give in to the violent ignorance and leave would be to admit defeat, thereby falling to the white man's enforced superiority. We do come to question the doctor's stubbornness, however, as the indiscretions grimly worsen yet he remains coldly refusing to budge. Then, what of Abar's brothers and sisters in the ghetto? The doctor's money isn't doing them any good on the white side of town. If the doctor went back to what is, according to his new enemies, where he belongs, he could stand to help that community immensely. The doctor contests this rather weakly by accusing Abar of being "worse than the black bourgeois escapees", "a scavenger living off the corruption of [his] own kind" so prideful in his position as community messiah that if the ghetto were cleaned up he might be "the first one to soil its fragrance to keep [himself] up on that pedestal of 'look at me'". Desperate though the declaration may be, it does foretell Abar's delusions of divinity upon receiving his powers.

Now, let it be known that at no point during "Abar" was I bored, or anything but enthralled, for that matter. Yes, ostensibly "Abar" is a bad film, but it is one of the best bad films I've seen.



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Sun May 08, 2011 1:18 pm
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Policeman being ordered to fire: "I'm going home to my wife. Make love, not war." :D

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Sun May 08, 2011 7:48 pm
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Colonel Kurz wrote:
Policeman being ordered to fire: "I'm going home to my wife. Make love, not war." :D

Haha, seen it?

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Sun May 08, 2011 10:43 pm
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No, it's in the trailer you linked.

Oh, and Deadwood Dick was actually a popular character in an endless string of dimestore novels in the late 19th century.

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Sun May 08, 2011 10:45 pm
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Colonel Kurz wrote:
No, it's in the trailer you linked.

Oh, I didn't actually watch all of that :shifty:

Colonel Kurz wrote:
Oh, and Deadwood Dick was actually a popular character in an endless string of dimestore novels in the late 19th century.

Ah, did not realize. At first utterance it sounded like a regularly badass cowboy nickname, then I put it together and thought, "Oh, well that just doesn't work in his favor at all, does it?"

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