1984 - Starring Leon
Issac Kennedy, Ernie Hudson, amd featuring Mr.
Written, Produced, and Directed by Jamaa Fanaka
I don't know what the
hell Jamma Fanaka was smoking when he made this film, but it surprises me greatly
that the guy is still alive. This could be the single most screwed up piece
of film I have ever seen. While the essence of the film is pure blaxploitation,
otherwise, this damn movie can't decide whether it wants to be action, drama,
or slapstick comedy. You'll see what I mean.
A long time ago, in an exploitation film far, far away...
The first odd thing that struck me was that the first half hour of the movie was apparently never even filmed. Instead, we're treated to Star Wars-esque scrolling text that tells us the story of what has happened to Martell "Too Sweet" Gordone (Leon Issac Kennedy) since the first Penitentiary movie: Too Sweet was released early from prison (it was a crime he didn't commit, of course) under the condition that he be employed by the warden's brother-in-law, a boxing manager, for two years. Then, in an attempt to get the gayest job possible, he left the gym and became a skate messenger for his brother in law, the attourney. Of course, this was in 1983, before they invented something called the "bicycle." Then his parole officer tells him to go back to the boxing guy, bla bla bla... Okay, here's the good part. "The parole officer also cautions Too Sweet that 'Half Dead,' a vicious killer who had become an obsessed enemy of Too Sweet after Too Sweet fought off his nocturnal amorous advances in a prison cell, had escaped during a court appearance on an appeal. Half Dead vows to kil Too Sweet." Damn, TMI, Mr. Fanaka. There are many ways to become someone's sworn blood enemy in prison, so there was no reason to delve that deep into the story. Now, I have to fight off the mental picture of Ernie Hudson making "nocturnal amorous advances" on some dude. On the other hand, kudos for such an excellent villain name.
It soon becomes apparent that while this can be referred to as a black exploitation film, that is much too weak a word for what's going on here. To say there was stereotyping going on is almost like saying that the surface of the sun is somewhat warm. The first example comes when Too Sweet enters the boxing gym, and takes some good natured ribbing from Mr. T (Yes!!) and his sparring partner. After Too Sweet makes a witty retort, the sparring partner gets somewhat upset. I could describe the scene, but I feel it warrants taking the time to get some Real Media action going. CLICK HERE to view the scene.