Friday, November 30, 2012

Black Fist

Directed by Timothy Galfas and Richard Kaye.
1974. Rated R, 93 minutes.
Robert Burr
Annazette Chase
Charles L. Hamilton
Denise Gordy
Richard Kaye
Ed Rue
Edward James Olmos

You know a movie is gonna be good and turrible, grammar and spelling intended, when it has two directors and goes by at least three titles. Such is the case with Black Fist, AKA Bogard, AKA Black Street Fighter, possibly AKA Homeboy. Legend has it that one of the main reasons for the multiple directors and titles is that the finished product is actually two crappy movies spliced together to form one mass of Blaxploitation goodness. Someone else will have to confirm all that for you. All I know is I’m about to have a ball! In keeping with genre traditions, I suggest completely ignoring any title which doesn’t include the word “Black.” With that in mind, let’s move on.

Before we actually get to the movie, we’ll just get the trivia round out of the way early. In other words, this is semi-interesting stuff I couldn’t find another spot for within the actual review. Some days, I suck. Anyhoo, Black Fist AKA lots of other stuff, marks the big screen debut of Edward James Olmos. Now that I know his long and wonderful career started here, I have even more respect for him than I had after my first viewing of the awesome American Me. He is only one of the former Miami Vice cast members in this movie. We’ll get to the other guy in just a bit. There is another bit of totally inconsequential info. Also making her cinematic debut is Denise Gordy: niece of Motown music mogul Berry, eventual wife and ex-wife of this movie’s star and baby-mama to the late great Marvin Gaye. Enough of this ‘Before They Were Stars’ crap, I’ve got a movie to talk about.

Our black street fighter with the black fist is named Leroy (Lawson). No disrespect to all the brothas named Leroy out there, but you can’t get any more stereotypical than that. This is a cause for pause, as in I’m pausing the movie to pop some popcorn and grab a brew. Gotta set the mood cuz I don’t know when the next time will be that I’ll have so much fun with my pants on and zipped up. Too much? Whatever.

Dig it, Leroy can’t seem to find a gig. He needs to make some bread cuz he’s got a wife to take care of…and a girlfriend. No jive. His game must be tight cuz this never becomes an issue. I would say this ain’t stereotypical, but I don’t feel like wasting any of my valuable sarcasm. Leroy has a constantly stumblin’ bumblin’ homie named Fletch. A quick look at Fletch reveals that this is obviously not Chevy Chase. Research the reference if you don’t get it. Hey, wait a sec. Oh snap! That over-acting dude is future Miami Vice star Philip Michael Thomas! Don’t get too attached to Fletch. He winds up dead. Ahem, sorry…Spoiler Alert! Well, not really. That he dies becomes relevant for a bizarre reason we’ll discuss later. For now, just know that Fletch hooks Leroy up with local gangster Logan (Burr). Of course Logan is white. Know your Blaxploitation!

Logan is into all kinds of stuff, but his pride and joy is his stable of bare-knuckle street fighters. He also gets a kick out of droppin’ N-bombs on his black employees, the highest ranking of which joins in on the fun. Talk about a house negro. Regardless, Leroy wants to be down. Apparently, there’s lots of bread to made bustin’ heads. Logan sets Leroy up with an audition fight. Our boy promptly takes a whoopin’, but Logan likes his spunk and hires him anyway. Since he’s not ready to take on the mean streets, Logan only has one thing to do: subject Leroy and us to a rigorous training montage.

Before too long, Leroy starts kickin’ ass and rakin’ in the dough. He’s doing so well, his down time is much more relaxing than it was before. Yes, this means another montage. This time we get to see him take long walks in the park and makin’ sweet sweet love with his wife then hangin’ out at the girlfriend’s crib countin’ stacks of money and makin’ more sweet sweet love. No jive.

You just have to know that happiness is short-lived. Suddenly, sleazy cop Heineken starts sniffin’ ‘round for a cut of Leroy’s winnings in exchange for not throwin’ the black street fighter’s black ass in jail. Woah, wait. The cop’s name is Heineken? Hot damn, I’m drinkin’ one of those right now! Woah, wait again. The cop is future co-star of so much stuff I care not to name, Dabney Coleman! I must say that, as a sleazy pig, he’s perfect. He’s even slimier than Logan, whom this eventually leads back to cuz that’s who he works for. My bad: Spoiler Alert! Doesn’t drinking imported beer from a green bottle make you feel more important? No? Just me? Forget it.

Leroy figures out the whole shebang and wants out, but not before he has one last big money fight. He lets it be known he won’t be sharing any of the proceeds when he wins. Brothas and sistas, you know tha man won’t let that slide. After the exit fight, Logan has someone try to kill Leroy by blowin’ up the dude’s car. Small problem with this course of action: Leroy’s not in his ride, but his very pregnant wife and her brother are. Dead. Oops. Woah, wait. Let’s back up a tiny bit. Before walking out to the car we see pregnant wifey sitting in the club that Leroy just bought with his black fists and drinking something out of a wine glass that was definitely not water. The 70s were great.

Did you see what just happened, here? For those of you so mesmerized by my skillful and imaginative prose that you somehow missed the unsubtle nuances of the story, I’ll explain. We have stopped watching a sports movie and are on to the revenge flick portion of our feature.

Ah, revenge flicks. You know the drill. Our hero has to question, beat down and/or kill a lot of people until he gets back to Logan. The first person to get the “Punisher” treatment is some cat with a heavy Hispanic accent who goes by the name Boom Boom. Apparently, Boom Boom got his name because he’s an expert…woah, wait. Oh snap! That over-acting dude is future Miami Vice star Philip Michael Thomas! No, I did not accidentally copy and paste, this is not any sort of typographical error and I’m not crazy. Philip Michael Thomas indeed plays two completely unrelated roles in the same movie without any makeup to disguise the fact and dies both times. Brothas and sistas, that last sentence could truly have been the entire review. It says far more than the rest of the masturbatory drivel I’ve spewed all over this delectable dreck. In case you missed the not-so-hidden meaning in the most recent of my brilliant statements, understand this: the only type of movie that would even attempt to pull off such tomfoolery is one that’s so bad it’s awesome! No jive.

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