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

Mean Johnny Barrows

I was about to watch another Jim Brown film when I came across this Fred Williamson flick on YouTube and thought I would give it a go. Right from the beginning it was obvious this was going to be a weird nonsensical and possibly terrible film. Freddo directed it.

It started off with Fred’s character Johnny doing some army training at an army base in California. Johnny, a captain or something, was doing some mine field training with some soldiers, explaining that the mines in the field are fake. He then steps on a mine and somehow instantly recognises that it is in fact a real mine. As he keeps pressure on it another officer comes along, he is obviously a racist and tells Johnny that all he has to do is replace the pin to defuse it, but in a racist manner. Johnny puts a pin in, but for some reason he asks his trainees to put their flak jackets around the mine, then he leaps away and it explodes, hurting no one. He then punches the officer’s lights out. He is discharged from the army. This is all important later in the film.

Next, we see Johnny in L.A., looking down and out in dirty clothes, and roaming the streets looking for work. He goes into a restaurant and the owner (and a mob family member) offers him work as a hitman, right there and then. To cut the story short, Johnny finally accepts the job as hitman about two-thirds of the film in after trying to find honest work, and working at a petrol station with a mean old dude, so goes about wasting some dudes from another mob family, and gets involved with a pretty blond who turns out to be a kind of Juliet of one mob family, with the Romeo being a son in the other mob family (played by Roddy McDowall), who Johnny also kills by slicing his leg open and telling him to jump into the sea from a boat (I presume sharks ate him, even though it was at a dock in the harbour, we didn’t actually see him die).

This brings us to the bizarre end. An assassin is hired to rub out Johnny, we don’t get to see his face until the final fight scene where they meet after a boring car chase, do some lame kung-fu on each other, and Johnny finally kills him with a ninja star to the head (it kills the assassin despite only barely piercing his forehead). It turns out the assassin was the officer Johnny punched out at the beginning of the film!

“ARRGHH! I have been mortally wounded by a ninja star!”

The very final scene is even more bizarre with Johnny taking the blond to a piece of land he was promised by the mob boss for the hits, along with a lot of money. He had fallen in love with her, and he didn’t know she was in cahoots with the rival mob bosses’ son. As he is asking her to shack up with him he moves in for a kiss but is shot by her in the stomach. She is pissed that he killed Romeo you see. She plugs him a few more times, then turns around and walks a few steps, and then realises she has stepped on a live mine, looks surprised at him for a few seconds, looks down, then is blown to bits. Johnny is still alive despite the shots. Quite an ending!

“Oh, sh…”

The film freeze frames on the explosion and the following text is displayed:

Everything in between in the mines is very slow moving. There is a story, but it just plods along until Johnny finally decides to take the hitman job, way too late in the story. The action is sparse and not really all that well done, along with pretty much everything else.

There is one bizarro scene near the beginning involving Elliot Gould. His character, a smooth-talking ex-professor dressed in fancy duds comes up to Johnny just as Johnny is about to take a hotdog out of a trashcan, he is that hungry. Gould’s character convinces Johnny to leave it and to go to a soup kitchen. On the way they go up to some random dude eating a hot dog and drinking a root beer, where Elliot smooth talks him into letting them have a bite and swig. The guy silently lets them and smiles and becomes instant chums with them. It was all very random, but as it turns out it was actually all random…

From IMDB:
Star Fred Williamson’s M*A*S*H (1972) co-star Elliott Gould came in for a half-hour’s work to help out his friend. Gould completely improvised his part on the spot.

That explains a lot.

Elliot and Freddo

Fred, like Jim Brown, was an American Rugby player-turned actor, and he also dabbled in directing and producing. Fred and Jim actually worked together in various films as well as television. And according to Wikipedia he has black belts in Kenpō, Shotokan karate and taekwondo.

Fred is 80 and still going strong.

So this was quite a mess, with the only real good stuff involving exploding mines, and Elliot Gould’s weird cameo. The two Slaughter films did this kind of film a lot better by concentrating on the action and less on the story.

Date watched: October 14th
Score: 3/10
Film count 2018: 64

Black Cobra 3: The Manila Connection

I felt like subjecting myself to more Black Cobra, so I watched this last night.

And it is more of the same. Basically what they did was pick out all of the best bits from the first two films then made this one, including setting the film in The Philippines again. It also has plenty of boxes, Freddo seems to like boxes to…

tide-boxes
throw bad guys through…

box-jump
do ninja-style jumps from…

hidy-boxes
and hide behind for their excellent cover.

Twice in the film we heard this song being played in the background. It must have been a hit song at the time.

There were several scenes in the film like this one which were drawn out and mundane. I guess the actors were tired in the The Philippines heat, so they decided to just walk around and do easy stuff.

To make up for the mundane bits they ended the film with a big explosion…

boom

All three Black Cobra films are all bad good, it is hard to pick a favourite. There is a Black Cobra 4, but I can’t find it on YouTube. I did find this though, it seems to be a Bollywood clone…

And I have just read that a new film is on the way “The Black Cobra Returns”, due out next year. Here is the plot from IMDB:

“Retired Chicago Detective Robert Malone is asked by the city to come out of retirement and assist on a new case of murders and rapes with the same M.O. as the notorious motorcycle gang he shut down years ago.”.

Freddo is of course going to reprise his role. He is 78 now, but age means nothing to Freddo. I am looking forward to that, it will probably be the blockbuster highlight of 2017.

Date watched: August 11th
Good bad score: 8/10
Film count 2016: 128

blackcobra3-2

The Black Cobra 2

The first Black Cobra film was bad, just plain bad, and this one was a step up. The first one had some bizarro acting which made it slightly entertaining, but it seems in this one they tried to act a bit, which actually ruined it.

You could tell they were waiting on their spots just as the director yelled “And…action!” because there was a slight delay before they started doing their thing in some shots. Sometimes they would do something like stand there and look up an elevator shaft, or just stare at their wrist watch, then wait for the director to yell “And… cut! Bravo!”. So in a way that was entertaining, but I would have preferred the bizarro acting.

Basically this was about Freddo (playing Bob Malone) getting kicked out of Chicago for a while because he is a loose cannon. He is sent off to Manila to work with Interpol (or Interpool as his Chicago boss called it). There he hooks up with non other than Nicholas Hammond…

NickHammond

… to bust up some crime ring or something, not sure really as I wasn’t paying attention to the story bits.

Some of the actions scenes were a bit funny, especially the diving into a stack of empty cardboard boxes to avoid gun-fire trick, or the tuck-and-roll-then-shoot move.

There was one surprising thing though. Freddo’s mission was to save a girl that he had wooed earlier on in the film, she had been kidnapped by a bunch of thugs. They took her into a warehouse while a gun battle ensued outside between the thugs and Freddo and Spidey. After they dispensed of them one by one, Freddo went inside to find her dead inside a crate, shot in the forehead. Freddo was cut up about that.

There was copious amounts of 80’s film music in this, and for added effect they used plenty of cowbell. As the story got more intense the synthesizers made way for heavy metal guitar riffs. Here is a scene that combines cowbell, metal riffs, and unloading an entire pistol chamber ruthlessly on the criminal that deserved it.

Here is the obligatory locking and loading scene.

Why did they dub over this kid? Continue watching that scene for the double goodbye wave.

And of course the film had to end with a joke, and here it is.

Avoid at all costs. I will be watching the third and fourth film in the series however, I might as well finish the whole series, perhaps it gets even worse.

Date watched: July 23rd
Score: 1/10 (for cowbell, heavy metal riff, as well as the cardboard box stunts)
Film count 2016: 120

black-cobra-2

Black Cobra

A while ago I was watching Joshua which had Fred Williamson, so I thought I would try another Freddo film.

This one was bad, just plain bad. The acting, directing, editing, all of it, was bargain basement film-making.

Some of the acting was quite baffling, and so, entertaining. Here is my fave part which was right at the end. Freddo is saying his goodbyes after a successful mission to kill all bad guys, violently, with plans to travel far away and relax. He goes to get in the car, pauses as if he has something to say or do, turns around and looks at the photographer lady and I was expecting him to say something like “Hey babe, how about we go on a trip together and get our thang on! Dig it?!”. But, he just puts on a weird face, them smiles for the camera. Great stuff!

But, the rest is crap. There is a sequel called Black Cobra 2, so I will check that out.

This is actually an Italian Blaxploitation film, and the plot is identical to the crap Stallone film Cobra. Ha!

Date watched: May 17th to 19th (took me three sessions)
Score: 2/10 (for the bizarro acting)
Film count 2016: 81

Joshua: The Black Rider

My seventies-athon continues with this 1976 film. Spoiler alert for this one as I presume most people will not be interested in watching this film.

It is about an African-American soldier returned from the civil war who finds that his mother was killed by a bunch of bandits, and had also kidnapped a beautiful woman. He sets off to get revenge, which he does by picking them off one by one in various fashions. The first bandit was killed by dropping a rattlesnake onto, the second guy he speared to death, the third he hung, and the fourth was shot.

The finale with the final bandit was quite bizarre. The bandit and the woman, who by this time had Stockholm Syndrome and was in love with the head bandit, knew they were being tracked by Joshua. They holed up in a cave, so Joshua tied three sticks of dynamite together and from above the cave lowered the dynamite down by a rope so that it was hanging in front of the entrance. A shoot-out ensued with the bandit quite terrified and just firing his pistol in Joshua’s general direction and yelling, “WHO ARE YOU, WHO ARE YOU?”, but getting no reply. The woman was also freaking out and yelled “I don’t want to live!”. Joshua then calmly lies down with his rifle, aims at the dynamite, and shoots causing a big explosion which would have blown them to bits. He then gets up and says “I am my mother’s son”.

So it was nothing original, but the performance by Fred Williamson (you will recognise him when you see him) was good, and it was probably filmed quite well, but the quality of this film on YouTube was quite bad. I did found a better version on Dailymotion (click here if you are interested in watching this) though.

I can’t find a trailer for this, but here is one for Black Cobra, starring Freddo, and it looks hilariously bad so I have added it to watch later.

Date watched: April 28th
Score: 6.5/10
Film count 2016: 72