Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lady Cocoa

Lady Cocoa
1975. Rated R, 99 minutes.
Director: Matt Cimber. Starring Lola Falana, Gene Washington, Alex Dreier, "Mean" Joe Greene, Millie Perkins, James A. Watson Jr.

Cocoa (Falana) is being let out of jail so she can testify against her gangster boyfriend tomorrow. Two officers, Doug (Washington) and Ramsey (Dreier) are assigned to protect her through the night. The premise is reasonable, actually sort of tame for a Blaxploitation flick. I say that fully realizing that it would make a million times more sense just to take her from jail to the courthouse the morning of, ala 16 Blocks. However, I was hoping for a "so bad it's awesome" experience. What gave me that hope was that they didn't check her into any old out of the way hotel. Nope, they checked her into a hotel/casino/mall/restaurant and she came loudly barrelling through the main entrance practically announcing her arrival to any potential assassins. But alas, it was not to be. The writers telegraph a romance right away and promptly falls into an endless cycle: she asks, he says something along the lines of "No, it's too dangerous," she rants, raves and threatens not to testify, he gives in, she makes googly eyes at him. It might've been interesting but unfortunately legendary singer Lola Falana proves to be a terrible actress delivering repetitive and grating dialogue. However, for any 1975 audience it was probably a shock to hear the classy songstress speak with a potty mouth and do a nude scene. Honestly though, her best acting came during that scene which was a surprisingly enthusiastic love scene late in the movie. It's not until after said scene that we finally get the real deal outrageous antics the genre is known for. By then, it's too late to save the movie. Oh well, at least Pittsburgh Steelers legend "Mean" Joe Greene, who plays a hitman, shows up to glare at the camera every so often.


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