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Boss Nigger Review

February 24, 2014

Much like Gun Crazy or The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Died and Came Back as Mixed Up Zombies, if you have a title this wild for a film, you better do it right the first time. So think fast what film has the most offensive title that’s apparently family friendly?

Boss Nigger Film Rating
Kids could handle things like this easier back then.

Boss Nigger of course! A Blaxploitation Western with a cast and crew of young black stars of the day and old white people behind the camera. I wish the production history on the film was documented somewhere. It was written, produced and stars Fred Williamson, who has charisma to spare even when he’s relegated to minor roles. Thankfully, he has a starring role and much more screen time here than in 1990: The Bronx Warriors.

Here’some production run down:

Robert Caramico Cinematographer of the Ed Wood scripted pornography film Orgy of the Dead and Tobe Hooper’s Eaten Alive
Gene Ruggiero Film editor old enough to have worked on Ninotchka (1939). Boss Nigger is Edited alongside Eva Ruggiero (wife? cousin? daughter? what’s the link!?)
Jack Arnold Director of superior 50s science fiction films The Incredible Shrinking Man and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Current old white guy making film called Boss Nigger.

I want to see pictures of these guys on set next to D’Urville Martin and Fred Williamson! Jack Arnold was sort of at the end of his career making this film and had settled into mostly directing television. Even in his best films, I don’t know how much personal input he had to make his mark as a director. I mostly remember his more popular films either having solid 1950s special effects and cinematography (or in the case of Shrinking Man, a surprisingly heavy ending that comes out of nowhere!) It’s not the 1950s anymore, and outside occasionally nice landscape shots of desert scenery, the film mise-en-scene is pretty awful. The flat illustration below of the Western town is pretty much how the town looks the entire movie.

boss-nigger-review

So don’t watch this expecting The Wild Bunch or The Shootist. Boss Nigger is a completely different story. Its story revolves around Boss (Fred Williamson) and Amos (D’urville Martin) arriving in town, they saving a black woman from racist killers and electing themselves Sheriffs, because why not!? Between helping other minorities and seducing any attractive young woman in sight, we then follow a standard Blaxploitation formula:

WHITE PERSON ACTS RACIST
GETS SHIT KICKED OUT OF THEM
REPEAT FOR HALF AN HOUR

That sums up half of Boss Nigger’s running time. We are then treated to Boss and Amos rescuing a black woman from racist Outlaw kidnappers. It all leads to some bad decisions made by our heroes, as they have a showdown in town leaving quite a good number of the cast dead. If that sounds like a pretty basic plot that could’ve been shot as a TV show, you are right. Williamson and Arnold just really extend these scenes to make a feature and it’s not subtle.

Nobody enters Boss Nigger expecting a fresh take on the Western genre and it’s not even as creative as Blazing Saddles, made a year earlier. It’s about making real, serious issues (like racism) seem like a firearm-filled walk in the park with Fred Williamson arresting and fighting assholes. D’Urville Martin, by the way, is no Fred Williamson. He is supposed to be the comic relief, but the real humour comes from his complete lack of competence in the role, which makes him quite endearing. D’Urville is a bit short and seems to have trouble with horseback riding and basic gunplay in the film. By comparison, Fred Williamson is much funnier, even with less obvious jokes. Maybe D’Urville was distracted by his directorial debut, Dolemite, which was released in the same year.
Since D’urville is nominated for “person most likely to accidentally shoot himself in a fight”, the rest of the cast is mostly stock bad-racist whitey or “one of the good ones” Boss supporters. No one really stands out. They are only there to be the butt of jokes, or the in case of women, get naked or fawn over Boss. The action is also weaker in the film, with only Fred making fighting seem fun., Some fights are choreographed badly, particularly the final fight, where a good part is not in the camera’s sight as it’s behind a bar in the saloon. You see tons of whiskey bottles on the wall and no one even breaks them! It’s not as poor or laughable as Dolemite, but doesn’t leave much of an impression either.

My favourite thing about blaxploitation films is their soundtracks. Boss Nigger has a score with the very modern sounding “We Produce” name credited as the composer. It’s funny to watch Boss and Amos ride horses in a Western setting to a set of generic funk riffs. Occasionally, a more traditional Western score is heard, especially when the story shifts to the racist outlaws on set. However, it doesn’t last, as the final showdown has the racist outlaws riding into town with that crazy funk score again! Who screwed that up? There funk score even resembles the People’s Court intro theme. Isn’t cool when films date weirdly like that?

The notorious theme song is the most noteworthy piece, which is performed by Terrible Tom. I can’t find any evidence of Terrible Tom doing any other music outside this film. (If you are Terrible Tom or know anything about him, contact me). The song is not as strong as the music from SuperFly or Shaft, but if you find the title “Boss Nigger” in any way entertaining, you’ll find the chorus entering your mind when you least expect it.

The film has a surprisingly high rating on IMDb, which I assume stems from people enjoying the risque title. Boss Nigger has some amusing lines from Williamson, but as a story, it’s a mess. If the Blaxploitation traits of strong, overtly sexual and aggressive black men punching out idiotic racists is your thing, than this will satisfy you, as it’s slightly unique setting alone to make it stand out from other Blaxploitation hybrids like Space is the Place or Blacula. Despite the occasional weak production value and storytelling, it’s entertaining to see Fred Williamson do his thing with a lighter racial commentary. Besides, what other PG films has women and children killed, socialism praised, and racism handled with violence? If only all modern day PG films were as crazy as that, genre fans wouldn’t cry over PG-13 so much now, would they?

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1990: The Bronx Warriors Review

February 25, 2011

I’m fascinated by director Enzo G. Castellari. Unlike the average Italian genre directors who usually stuck to giallo and horror films, Robert Mr. Castellari attempted to make several action films in his career and seems to be quite proud of his work.

Depends on the movie indeed. My first experience in watching 1990: The Bronx Warriors was at the Babylon Nightclub on mute. Top Obviously, I was only really able to grasp what was going on after a theatrical showing. In this film, cheap nba jerseys Castillari cuts a nice slice of rip-off pie that swipes ideas from The Warriors and Escape From New York. The film is set in the futuristic year of 1990, where the Bronx is declared a no man’s land and is overrun with violent gangs. Anne (Stefania Girolami), the daughter of the president of the Manhattan Corporation, runs away from home to the Bronx where she runs into Trash (Mark Gregory) Fairview the leader of the gang called Riders. The President sends an ex-cop named Hammer to retrieve Anne and wipe out the gangs.

I’m okay with plot rips-offs I’m fine with as long there are interesting things happening cinematically to carry Look the film somewhere new. There are some wholesale jerseys in The Bronx Warriors, but it’s all amazingly miscalculated. Our unique gangs include a roller 2016 skating gang (in full knee pads and helmets), tap-dancing gangs that tap-dance while they fight and whose make-up would give Visage a wholesale mlb jerseys run for their money. And least interesting is a gang of pseudo-zombies who are never really explained. This would be fine and dandy if they were all convincing bad-asses right? Outside the American actors (specifically Fred Williamson), the acting and dubbing of the cast induces more giggles than awe, especially Trash who shows no charisma in lead role at all. What kind of name is ‘Trash’ anyhow? It’s hard to get behind someone named Trash. Not that the others have better ones.

Try to guess who’s who before rolling over!

Wasn’t that great Neikos fun? It’s like you known these guys for years now! So can Trash, Review Ice, Hammer and Hot Dog fight? The action scenes do not cut it. For battles, they are wholesale nfl jerseys mostly restricted to unrealistic fist fights and blunt object beatings that resemble swashbuckling films more than street brawls. I can not recommend the film unless you are totally in love with trash cinema, especially the Italia-brand: Bad dialog, rip-off story line, and bad ideas. This one would have it all if the action scenes were thought out a bit more and could at least reach the level of enjoyably-bad.

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