Friday, February 17, 2012

Mean Johnny Barrows

Directed by Fred Williamson.
1976. Rated R, 86 minutes.
Fred Williamson
Roddy McDowall
Jenny Sherman
Stuart Whitman

Blaxploitation legend and former NFL player Fred “The Hammer” Williamson directs and stars in this entry into the genre. He plays Johnny Barrows, a Vietnam vet who gets a dishonorable discharge after striking an officer. The officer totally deserved it, by the way. After the discharge, he finds himself on the streets with no money, no place to go and his rep as a war-hero and former college football star preceding him. He’s being actively recruited by the local mobsters to do some dirty work for them but resists. The question becomes how long can he do so and what will push him over the edge.

As far as Blaxploitation goes, this one’s little tame because Johnny spends much of the movie looking for an honest job and then trying to keep it. While admirable and probably riveting drama if handled correctly, it’s pretty boring the way it’s done here. When it finally cranks up we get the tough-talkin’ and cheesy kung-fu fightin’ we’ve been waiting for but it takes a long time to get there and has been repetitive along the way. What’s also strange about this from a Blaxploitation standpoint is that Williamson is the only Black person in the cast. At least, he’s the only one with a speaking part. Anyway, it’s not one of the those movies from the genre that’s so unbelievably bad you love it (there’s lots of those) nor is it one of the genre’s better movies. It’s just kind of “meh.”

MY SCORE: 4/10

No comments:

Post a Comment