The Black Six

My blaxploitation-fest continues with this 1974 outlaw biker film.

As in the previous blaxploitation films I have been watching, there is an American Rugby connection with all six of the main actors being actual players back in the day. They all came from different teams such as the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers. Some of them did some other work in film or television, but this was really the high point of their silver screen fame. I must say though that they were all quite natural on screen, sometimes funny, but not quite up to Fred or Jim level.

The story starts out with the murder of a black American Rugby player by a honky biker gang. He was killed because his white girlfriend is also the sister of the leader of the honky gang, and he didn’t like that.

We then meet Bubba and the other members of The Black Six. Bubba is also the brother of the murdered player. The Black Six is a peace loving biker group who roam the countryside on their bikes, working and sleeping where ever they can. They find work on a farm stacking hay bales into the loft of a barn. It was quite funny as they were obviously throwing light wooden boxes with hay glued on the outside…

After finishing the work the nice farm lady invites them in for dinner where they have a good meal, and of course there is a lot of good-hearted banter and joking around. The lady pays them what little money she can, as times are tough, and she hopes they would drop by again someday when she has more money so they can fix the barn wall which needs repairing. They ask if they can sleep in the barn for the night, which she happily agrees to.

The next day the lady goes outside to see that the gang has left, and that the barn has been fixed! A postman comes up to her and says; “I just saw that bunch of Negroes ride out, I just what to make sure everything is all right, you know how they are!”, to which she replies, “Yes…I know how they are!” with a smile on her face.

Mrs. Perkins

This was the actress’ only film, but she did fine.

Bubba (played by Gene Washington of the San Francisco 49ers) finds out in a letter from his mother that his brother was slain, so he decides he must go home and find out what happened. The rest of the gang of course join him. They don’t want to bash heads, they just want to find out who did it, as the police don’t who know did it although they kind of did but they are afraid of the honky gang.

The rest of the story is really quite dull, but the ending is where things get weird. After finding out who did it the Black Six decide to go violent and end up wasting all of the honky white gang in a rumble in a field, quite viciously. Unbeknown to them another even more vicious gang (or motorcycle dudes as the poster says) was waiting nearby, they just wanted to join in on the fun. Part of their attack strategy was to throw lit flares at them. The Black Six picked up the flares and threw them back, so there was a lot of flare throwing which looked like fun. There were dozens of the flare-throwing gang, but the Black Six were doing a good job of wasting them too. The last remaining member of the original gang who fled the carnage at first is ordered by the other gang leader to do something about it, so he lights up a flare, places it in the open gas tank of his hog, then makes a banzai run for the Black Six. He does a jump in the air and explodes, causing all of the other hogs which were strewn about the battlefield to explode. Over the flames we see shots of each of the Black Six like thus…

“Bubba”

We then see this…

From Wikipedia:
Several of the football players were disappointed with elements in the original script, especially that the black motorcyclists would be killed in the end, despite the fact that they stood for truth, justice and the American way. As a result of their protests, an inconclusive ending was shot.

That explains the ending. There was however no sequel.

It was a very cheaply made film and didn’t really have much of a story. But, the six main characters were fun to watch and the actors playing them seemed to be enjoying themselves. The ending too, though bizarre, was a bit of fun. So, it was not too bad, but the Slaughter films are the best of the blaxploitation films I have watched in the last week or so.

Date watched: October 19th
Score: 5/10
Film count 2018: 67

One Down, Two To Go

This is the other Jim Brown film I mentioned I had lined up to watch in a previous blog post. As it turns out, this is actually another Fred Williamson film, he both starred and directed this quite terrible film.

It starts out well though with a karate tournament that actually turned out to be real. From IMDB:
The fights that take place during the fictitious martial arts tournament that open the film, were in fact actually real and not staged. Fred Williamson had organized it so that the fights would look authentic and the winner of each fight got paid five hundred dollars and with the loser getting one hundred dollars.

The story was about a rigged karate tournament, with Jim and Fred trying to find out where $400,000 in missing prize money went. Their buddy was a karate coach who got ripped off, then shot by the fight’s promoter’s thugs.

Unfortunately everything after that opening scene it was tedious watching. Some scenes were unnecessarily long, especially those involving Fred and Jim such as one scene where they get out of a car and walk somewhere all with no dialogue and some funky (but not very good) music playing. Another scene had Jim Brown very slowly walking up stairs with his gun, ready to shoot anything that moves, but all we saw was him creeping up the stairs, get to the top, open a door and move inside, slowly. There was then a cut to another scene, which then cut back to Jim, but the mood was lost by then.

The story was muddled and confusing at times, but it didn’t really matter, all we needed to know was when Jim and Fred were going to shoot someone or something, which they did with gay abandon. Unfortunately, they spent more time just walking about.

The main characters were carrying around big Magnums, similar to Dirty Harry’s, and despite all the shooting they did they did not reload once, that is the main thing I will temporarily remember about this film, and that it was quite bad.

It of course ended with a comical scene involving Jim, Fred, and Richard Roundtree in hospital beds after the final gun battle. Their boss tells them there is a telex for them from Japan asking for their “assistance”. They start complaining about it, and the film ends with a free-frame of a cigar-chomping mutt that was sitting nearby.

Fred though did have a good reason for making this film. From IMDB:
One of the major reasons Writer/Director Fred Williamson decided to make the film besides the down time between projects was because he wanted to give Jim Brown, Jim Kelly and Richard Roundtree work. He stated that besides doing a sequel to Three The Hard Way, that Brown, Kelly and Roundtree were not given the work they should’ve been getting in Hollywood at the time and deserved better.

So good on you Freddo!

But, this is just not worth watching at all.

However, I am continuing my blaxploitation film-fest with another film called “The Black Six” which has the taglines: “See the 6 biggest, baddest and best waste 150 motorcycle dudes!” and “Six Times Tougher Than ‘Shaft’! Six Times Rougher Than ‘Superfly’!”. Sounds promising!

Date watched: October 19th
Score: 1/10
So-bad-it’s-good score: 1/10
Film count 2018: 66

Slaughter’s Big Rip Off

Browsing for films on YouTube I came across this film, which as it turns out is another American International Pictures release. It was made in 1973 and features the acting talents of Jim Brown, with a soundtrack by James Brown. It also stars Ed McMahon as a drug lord.

It is pretty typical 1970’s B-grade fare with lots of action, cardboard acting, scenes where nothing much happens, TV-style directing, large collars, mustaches, and attitude. Some of it was just plain funny, especially a scene involving Slaughter being attacked by kung-fu assassins.

Some of it was quite violent, especially a scene at the beginning of the film where we see a character (played by George Gaynes, aka Lieutenant Lassard of Police Academy fame…read his bio, he had quite a life) on the receiving end of a headshot by a hitman shooting a machine gun from a low flying biplane. For the day this must have been quite shocking.

Jim Brown was an American Rugby player before he turned to acting, and quite a successful one too. This film was made seven years after he retired from sports, but he was obviously still in good shape. He had plenty of opportunities to show off his physique, mostly in scenes that involved some lady friends (his character had a girlfriend, but he was not very faithful to her).

Jim in action.
Jim in gun action (different film).
Jim these days.

Also in the film was Scatman Crothers, which is always a pleasure to see. He was the voice of Hong Kong Phooey don’t you know?!

The seventies fashions in this film were only average. The best dressed character, apart from Scatman of course, was “Joe Creole” who was a smooth-talkin’ pimp.

Scatman knows how to wear a hat.
Purple is my thang!

Ed McMahon did have some stylish sunglasses though, and the shirt is not too bad either…

Ed with the film’s hitman.

This is actually a sequel to the original Slaughter film that came out a year earlier, so I’ll have to check that out too. Hopefully it is as much fun as this one.

Fave lines in the film (from IMDB):

Slaughter: [Slaughter’s girl is wound up about him getting hurt] Now, you gettin’ all wired up ain’t gonna help nothing… So why don’t you go back on outside, and give the customers another look at your pretty face?
Marcia: You know, that’s what gets me about you, Slaughter… You’re so goddammed cool!
[She storms out]

Slaughter: [to his girl] I’m Slaughter, baby… The baddest cat that ever walked the earth… And besides, I’m gonna do it to them before they do it to me… You can bet your money on that.

Date watched: October 12th
Score: 7.5/10
Seventies-O-fashion score: 6/10
Film count 2018: 62

Dolemite II: The Human Tornado

I had to subject myself to more Dolemite, so I watched this not long after writing the review for the first film.

It started out with Dolemite doing a stand-up routine in a nightlclub…

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…insulting the guests to raucous laughter. It then got into the story about saving his nightclub and two kidnapped dancers from a rival nightclub owner, a side story of a backwoods sheriff out to kill Dolemite, and general chaos.

Here is the plot from Wikipedia:

After coming off a successful comedy tour, Dolemite throws a get-together at his mansion, there he announces that he is to offer his mansion to the person that started a drive for a new boys’ home, then is rudely interrupted by the local sheriff and his deputies because they’re a group of black people having a party, thus causing trouble. Turns out the Sheriff’s wife is offering Dolemite money for sexual services. When the sheriff catches them red handed, he promptly shoots his wife. Dolemite and his friends kidnap a young man and his car and decide to head to California where he is to meet Queen Bee, only to find out that the local mob man, Joe Cavaletti kidnapped two of her girls and forced her to close down her joint and work for him. Dolemite must rescue Queen Bee, her girls and teach the grease balls a lesson all the while being chased by his hometown’s sheriff for the murder of his wife he pinned on him.

The final scenes are similar to much of the era’s kung fu scenes along with the expected added sound effects, and a fight with none other than the “Central American Nunchuck champion”.

The credits were great:

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Here is a screenshot of Dolemite jumping over a wall, completely in the nude, and about to roll down a rather high embankment. Rudy Ray was obviously proud of this scene and replayed it whilst narrating “So you all don’t believe I jumped huh?! Watch this good s**t!”. Ha!

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The final fight scene at the rival nightclub owner’s house was a hoot with Dolemite running around busting ass using his kung-fu skills, sometimes sped up.

Here he is about to take on the Central American Nunchuck champion…

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The cops bust up the fight, including this weird cop…

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All good fun, just as good as the first, but not better.

Date watched: October 26th
Number of times Dolemite said “Motherfather”: wasn’t counting, but less than in Dolemite
Score: 4/10
Film count 2016: 167

dolemite-human-tornado

Detroit 9000

I came across this 1973 blaxploitation film on YouTube, and as it turn’s out this is a cult film that Quentin Tarantino helped get re-released theatrically in 1998.

Typically for blaxploitation films this was cheaply made (by today’s standards at least), with only average acting on the whole. But, it was entertaining, and looked at racism in the police force and politics.

It was surprisingly violent and even a little gruesome at times, although the liberal use of bright red poster paint as blood was comical.

The final shootout scenes between the Detroit Police and a gang of well-armed thugs was very entertaining, with a chase ensuing between the escaping thugs on foot and the cops also on foot, on horses, motorbikes, and in cars. Plenty of cops got plugged on the way, and there was lots of poster paint everywhere.

And the final scene involving a cop (played by Alex Rocco, he died last year)and the spoils of a jewelery heist was a surprise, and ended with more questions than answers. I can see why Quentin likes this so much.

“9000” refers to the police radio call meaning “officer down”.

Good stuff.

Date watched: October 24th
Score: 7.5/10
Film count 2016: 164

detroit9000

The Monkey Hu$tle

Even though I have a few more modern day films to watch I returned to my YouTube “Watch Later” list and watched this 1976 blaxpolitation flick.

The synopsis on IMDB is: “A new highway threatens a Chicago neighbourhood, so to protest the residents throw a block party.”, which is partly true if only for about one-eighth of the film. The rest of it is about various characters hustling each other including a corrupt cop, and there is also a sub-plot about an aspiring drummer who has to resort to hustling to survive while he waits for his big drumming chance.

I gave up on trying to figure out what was going on about a third of the way in, and just waited for it to end. It was not all that funny, but did have some half-decent acting. Yaphet Kotto (Alien) was in this along with a few other familiar faces.

Not really worth watching.

Date watched: July 22nd
Score: 4/10
Film count 2016: 119

monkey-hustle

Jive Turkey

I am still stuck in the past as far as my film watching goes with this 1974 blaxploitation film. The other title for this film is Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes, and neither name makes any sense, although as it would turn out a lot of things didn’t make sense in this film.

Some of the acting  was quite good, especially the main character who was the leader of a numbers game racket. A few of the other characters were interesting, especially Serene, the psycho transvestite hit-vestite. She killed people with glee, laughing away while she did it.

serene

The story though was confusing at times as many things were not explained well, or not explained at all, and the direction and editing did not help. It was also a bad film to digital copy with chopped shots here and there.

It had some groovy music though, a Barry White clone would break out in a song, sometimes at inappropriate times, but it was a highlight.

This was supposed to be set in 1956 as the opening credits said this was a true story, with the names, places, and events changed to protect the innocent… ha! But apart from a few 1950’s cars here and there, this very much looked 1970’s.

A lot of tomato sauce was used in the killing scenes.

Overall this is not a watch for discerning film goers. However if you like trashy films that are trying their best, then this is worth a watch.

Date watched: June 4th
Score: 6/10
Film count 2016: 92

Here is the title song…