Friday, February 18, 2011
Three The Hard Way
Dir: Gordon Parks Jr. (Super Fly)
Starring: Jim Brown (Slaughter/ Slaughter's Big Rip Off/The Slams/Black Gun)
Fred Williamson (Boss Nigger/Mean Johnny Barrows/BuckTown)
Jim Kelly (Black Belt Jones/Hot Potato/Enter The Dragon)
Alex Rocco (Detroit 9000/Motor Psycho/ The Godfather)
Howard Platt ( Sanford and Son)
Ever so often being a film fan there is that one film that you really want to see but just cannot seem to get a hold of, Well in the Blaxploitation genre for me this was that film. For years, ever since I have gotten into the genre I have wanted to see this flick just based on the cast and the fact that Gordon Parks directed it and knowing how he can handle the Blaxploitation style I had high hopes of this one. I mean how could you go wrong with Park's behind the camera and the likes of genre legends the likes of Williamson, Kelly and Brown teamed up on one film. Luckily my assumptions were correct because this film kicks ass. this one has got to be one of the down right coolest Action films I have ever seen. Now I am not a huge Action fan but this one really pulled me in from the start and never let go.
The Film opens up with a man named House escaping from a compound where several black people are being held prisoner and apparently are having experiments performed on them. House manages to escape and gets a ride into town by a hippie couple he runs across while scurrying through the woods. Once in the city the young couple bring the injured house to his friend Jimmy Lait ( Jim Brown). While in the hospital, House tells Jimmy who is responsible for this attack and that he had been held captive by a white supremacy group determined on whipping out the entire black race. After a long visit Jimmy decides to head to his job at a recording studio while he leaves his girlfriend Wendy behind to watch over House's progression. Unfortunately for Jimmy , some of the groups henchmen sneak into the hospital and kill House and manage to kidnap Wendy in the process. Jimmy returns to see this and the hunt begins.
After learning that the new chemical weapon is going to be released in Los Angeles , Detroit and Washington D.C. the three split up and each go for separate locations to retrieve the toxin . First Jagger hits Detroit to stop the spread and he successfully manages to take out a few goons and get the case to safety, Then Keyes heads to D.C. and gets some help from one of his most talented students from his dojo since he is opposed to using guns. The two swiftly take out a small army with some exciting Kung Fu Style and he also manages to retrieve the case of poison, Lastly Jimmy heads home to L.A, and defeats another small army to get the case and although he loses a friend in the battle he does come across some useful information and finds who is behind the plot and where the compound is where his girlfriend is being held by the mastermind behind the scheme Mr. feathers. While the gang regroups and suits up with some heavy artillery , feathers is throwing a celebration ball at his compound not knowing that his plan has been foiled. While the party starts , Jimmy, Jagger and Keyes are already on route to take him out.
As Feathers celebration goes on The three manage to sneak into the compound but their presence is made known after a alarm is sounded shortly after they make their way inside, This of course leads us into the final showdown. This scene is 15 minutes of full on balls to the wall action as the three heroes blast their way through the evil army making their way to Feathers. As Feather's tries to flee with Wendy, she manages to fight free and he leaves her behind to save himself but unfortunately for him the Heroes are to much and blow up his vehicle in mid flee. After the head of the empire is defeated the gang decides to blow up the compound just for extra measure and after the flames die down , Jimmy, Jagger and Keyes stroll off into the sunset unscathed.
I must say that Three The Hard Way does not only succeed as a Blaxploitation film classic it also stands on it's own as a awesome action film as well. If you are a fan of movies filled with gun fights and explosions this will definitely leave you happy and on top of that the fight scenes are decent as well being that Jim Kelly is involved. Yes, this one is a bit goofy at times but what action film isn't? I could not help thinking while watching this film that it had to be one of the more influential films behind the making of more recent Blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite, simply die to the whole Toxic chemical designed to kill all Black people plot, Much like the poisoned Malt Liquor in Black Dynamite. Although that of course was not as lethal it had to be one of the seeds sprouting in the mid of the director at the time. As far as Blaxploitation action goes, this one is definitely one of the better made ones and it is incredibly well paced and really has no dull moments which is always nice, because the film was a breeze to sit through. Watching three Icons of Black cinema on the screen together doing what they do best in the same film was awesome and I am glad that I finally was able to obtain a copy of this film for my collection as it truly lived up to my self made hype I built up for it which is unusual in it's own right. I can't say much more than that this film is just down right fun to watch and Fans of Blaxploitation and fans of pure action could easily unite on this one. If it were not for this film I don;t think there would be films like The Expendables or Black Dynamite being made today. In my eyes this is sort of a Afro- American version of the Expendables honestly for the time it came out you would be hard pressed to come up with a better collection of Black action stars than the ones showcased here.
Ass-Kickin': 9 ( Balls to the Wall action from start to finish, everything from explosions to Kung- Fu)
Jive: 7 ( Pretty standard but delivered from some of the best in the business)
Funk:6 (Decent soundtrack but nothing to noteworthy other than the title track)
Playa's and Whitey's: 7 ( Three Icons in one film, Nuff' said)
Ass and Tittays: 5 ( No nudity other than the gang of female interrogators, If this one had just a bit more nudity it would have been the most perfect guy film ever made)
Overall on the Funk-O Tron: 7 out of 10
Hottest Interrogation Squad Ever..