Saturday, August 7, 2021

Movie Reviews: Slaughter

directed by Jack Starrett
The good about Slaughter was that it featured a two fisted Black masculine male hero who plays by his own rules, doesn't take any stuff off anyone, and is going to get the girl.
It's surprising how rare that combination still is in Hollywood today, let alone fifty years ago. I suppose at the times an over the top film like this could have been cathartic for Black people who were, it must be remembered, just less than a decade removed from the official end of legal apartheid. 
The bad about Slaughter was almost everything else. The writing was indifferent. Jim Brown is not a bad actor but he's not a great one either. The film was low budget even for the times and looked it. 
Even so, I had a soft spot in my heart for this movie, because although Brown gives a one note performance, his role really doesn't require more than that. His character knows what he wants, knows how to get it, and doesn't spend a lot of time talking things out. One day I'm going to try just to speak all day in one liners from this film.
Okay, what's it about? What is any blaxploitation revenge movie about? Slaughter (Jim Brown) is a Vietnam veteran Green Beret captain who has come home. His parents are killed in a car bomb. Doing some investigating Slaughter finds some of the men who did it and removes them from the planet. 
They were mobsters bent on extortion. But the key man responsible Hoffo (
Rip Torn) flees across the border.
Before Slaughter can pursue him and finish him, he's detained by the head of some government agency- could be Treasury, could be CIA- and it is so not important. This agency has been after the Mob for quite some time. The boss (Cameron Mitchell) wants Slaughter to retrieve the Mob files on bribery, extortion, tax avoidance, and other incriminating information which are for some reason all stored on a supercomputer. 
If Slaughter can get those files the agency will arrange for any murder and assault charges to be dropped.
To ensure that Slaughter attempts to get the files and not just wreak bloody revenge the agency sends along Harry (Don Gordon) and Kim (Marlene Clark).
Hoffo is the right hand man of Mob boss Mario Felice (Norman Alfe). Felice likes to think of himself as reasonable, cultured, and intelligent compared to the vile and vicious racist Hoffo. Both to punish Hoffo and try to deal with Slaughter quietly, Felice orders Hoffo's busty girlfriend Ann (Stella Stevens) to get close to Slaughter. Maybe she can buy him off. Maybe she can set him up. But Ann hates Hoffo and quickly falls for Slaughter.
There are a lot of tough guy one liners, long car chases and shootouts, gratuitous racial insults by villains, and extended nudity and cleavage scenes that many A-list actresses today would likely not perform. Don Gordon provides some comedy, mostly by epically failing to impress every woman he approaches. His confidence however, always remains unshaken. This is a decent Saturday afternoon type of movie.
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