Saturday, March 15, 2008


The Action Mutant…
has a porno in mind that rhymes with “Bucktown”.


review by Joe Burrows

You know what time it is? No, not the “Wheel of Morality”! It’s time for the first inductions into the Action Mutant Hall of Fame! To commemorate the first six months of TAM (which actually ended this February), I will select ten men and ten women to be inducted (i.e. have pics put up on the group) in the “inaugural class”. A new group will be inducted every six months and it will be based on how prolific they have been in the past site reviews. Now, Charlie B. is a given, even if he’s only been in one film reviewed so far. He was the initial inspiration for the group and his induction into any Action HoF is expected. Another sure fire nominee is Fred Williamson, as he has been in four TAM reviewed films. Wait…five!

The Plot, as it was:
Fred is Duke Johnson, a proud black man that knows he’s in trouble the minute he steps off the train in “Bucktown” (aka Buchanan). He’s visiting due to brother Ben’s funeral but after some prompting by town drunkard Harley (Bernie Hamilton) and street kid Steve (Tierre Turner), Duke stays in town to reopen Ben’s closed down dance club. This raises the ire of the white police force, which tries to get Duke to leave in an uncivilized manner. Duke calls on some muscle led by Roy (Thalmus Rasulala) and they promptly rid the town of the police. However, when Roy and his boys take over the town’s policing duties, Duke finds himself having more troubles than he had before!

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
Even with all of the expected principles in play in Bucktown (name “blaxpoitation” cast, evil crackers, great nudity, etc.), it falls just short of being a genre classic. One pretty good reason is that there gets to be too much chatter and that bogs down the stuff that one comes to see in these tales. The mayhem is plentiful when it takes place but the time in between it grows pretty far. If it’s any consolation, the color of the settings makes things lively and the cast is full of actors that you would expect for their roles (Williamson = black super dude, Pam Grier = hero’s sassy woman, Carl Weathers = athletic beast). Another point of interest is that the film takes the angle of “people are greedy, no matter what color they are”, which is taken a lot further here than it has been in other genre pieces. It adds an extra dimension to what’s already there, which (as mentioned) isn’t as much as it could have been. In short, when Bucktown is fun, its real fun but when it slows, it grinds quite a bit.

Body Count/Violence: 10. It is a low number but the climactic battle between Duke and Roy is as good of a knock down, drag out that I’ve seen for a film’s end. Lots of weapons, fists and kicks (including perhaps the most telegraphed ball kick in history) abound in about 10 minutes. Throughout the film, there’s bar fights, baseball bat beatings, explosions, gunplay, knife slashing, etc. Also, check out Big Fred’s means of conveyance near the end of the film. Pretty much says it all.

Sexuality/Nudity: Pam Grier. Tits. I’m sure you can connect the dots. This takes place during the obligatory Big Fred love scene, as if you didn’t guess. There are also some breasts from Jody Maxwell on two occasions, one in a strip club and the other in a bedroom scene.

Language/Dialogue: About one F bomb and some milder stuff. Whitey uses the N word like its going out of style.

How bad was it?:
There were mixed reviews here, mainly due to critics wanting more action and for things to be more atypical. Imagine that!

Did it make the studio’s day?:
The only thing made evident in this film’s box office (or budget) performance is that it was released in the U.S. by American International Pictures on 7/2/75. Since it is one of Williamson’s more well known efforts, it is available on MGM’s Soul Cinema label on both DVD and VHS.

Film: **1/2/*****
Entertainment value: ***1/2/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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