Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Black Six

Directed by Matt Cimber.
1974. Rated R, 94 minutes.
Gene Washington
Mean Joe Greene
Mercury Morris
Carl Eller
Lem Barney
Willie Lanier
John Isenberger
Rosalind Miles
Marilyn McArthur
Lydia Dean
Robert Howard
Maury Wills

Six NFL stars…err…Vietnam vets venture into the small hometown of one of the crew whose brother has been murdered by a white motorcycle gang for dating the gang-leaders sister. Since the police can’t, or won’t get to the bottom of the matter, the six will.

Watching our heroes try to stick it to The Man is goofy fun in spurts. The first twenty minutes or so and the last twenty make up the bulk of the festivities. The middle of the film contains a few fun moments along the way but it drags, terribly. During this stretch, five of “the six” hardly speak as we focus on Bubba (Washington), the dead guy’s brother. He’s busy doing his own investigation and simultaneously trying to reconnect with his old life, namely ex-girlfriend Ceal.

When the rest of the crew is allowed to shine, things thankfully lighten up. Former Miami Dolphins star Mercury Mooris gives the best performance with a hilarious monologue early in the film. This should come as no shock to anyone already familiar with Morris. The rest of the guys are pretty bad and their lines are spread out thinly and evenly. Of course, the iconic Mean Joe Greene is among this group and doesn’t have much to say. This movie reaffirms the notion that his best performance was in a Coke commercial. In case you’re too young to know who the rest of the guys are, don’t you worry. The opening credits puts each guy’s name on screen while the camera is right in their mug and even tells us which team they play for. Nice.

In all, it’s a clunky, slow movie that starts off pretty good and ends pretty good. Everything in the middle just meanders along until we finally get to the finale. It holds some nostalgic value for people who were fans of the NFL in the 1970s but it’s not a movie that demands watching on any level.

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