Thursday, May 6, 2010

'The Black Godfather' is predictable and dated

Black Godfather (1974)
Starring: Rod Perry, Don Chastain, Jimmy Witherspoon, Damu King,and Duncan McLeod
Director: John Evans
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Career criminal JJ (Perry) sets about uniting black hoods and militants under his leadership so he can drive the mafia from the black neighborhoods and take over their criminal rackets in the name of black liberation and money for JJ.

"The Black Godfather" is a 1970s crime drama/action film of the blacksploitation school, with all the stereotypes that implies. Nothing that happens and nothing that is said is any surprise--except perhaps for the drag-queen assassin with the blowgun--and my guess is that you've seen what this film has to offer done better elsewhere. Plus, it's short on drama and action, but long on talkie bits espousing black power, coming from a guy who ultimately is just looking to enrich himself. (At least there's the counterpoint in the form of a thug who truly is devoted to the concept of black empowerment.)

The one thing this movie has going for is is a cast of actors who are better-than-usual for movies of this type and in this budget range. Despite the movie's sluggish pacing and cliched story and characters, these excellent actors manage to keep the viewers engaged. (In fact, I don't think there's anyone who appears in a speaking role who didn't deserve to be in a better movie than this.)

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