Friday, February 25, 2011

The Final Comedown

Directed by Oscar Williams.
1972. Rated R, 83 minutes.
Billy Dee Williams
D'urville Martin
Celia Kaye
Maidie Norman

Black militant Johnny (Williams) is wounded during a shootout with the cops. His fellow soldiers, a Black Panther Party type group, drag him to a back alley and try to get him some medical attention. While waiting, and bleeding, he reminisces about some of the events in his life that led him to this point. Though it comes from the Blaxploitation era and some of the players in that era, this is far different most of what that genre produced. It does indeed have a "down with Whitey" thread running through it. However, most Blaxploitation flicks went at the idea in jest. They had lots of pimps, foxy mamas, jive talkin' and kung fu fightin'. Humor, both intentional and not was common. This is a different animal. It's a serious minded and unflinching movie trying to jolt it's viewers. For a 1972 audience, I imagine it could've been downright scary. Remember, movie goers of the time had just lived through the Civil Rights Movement. They could tell you where they were when JFK, MLK, Robert Kennedy and Malcolm X were assassinated. The possibility of America slipping into a race war wasn't all that far fetched. Knowing this, it succeeds at being a commentary, not only on race in America in the early 1970s but on inner-race relations amongst Blacks as well. A strong, angry turn by the normally suave Billy Dee Williams helps (though he still manages to have time for the ladies). It fails a little in the narrative department. It's unclear exactly what Johnny and his people are trying to accomplish, other than martyring themselves. It's lack of budget shows up in the action scenes. The results of gunshots are mostly laughable. They're also easy to forgive if you just chalk it up to it being made almost 40 years ago. However, less than 12 months after it's release the movie Dillinger, about the famous bank robber, came out. That movie had some amazing and brutal sequences that still look good today. Nonetheless, TFC is an intriguing watch that some viewers will embrace while others are repulsed.

MY SCORE: 7/10

No comments:

Post a Comment