I took the message of self determination and exploiting the exploitative system to take skills and knowledge back to ones own community. Inspiring. Using counter terrorism tactics to teach the street gangs guerrilla warfare is just an example of this but it's handled well in the movie. I like that they don't throw in a tacky ending but leave it out there.
The scenes with Dan training in the CIA are confusing at first because you don't quite know where the movie is going and it did seem a little too easy for him to convince a street gang to follow him into urban revolution but that aside the sub plots like the friend who turns him in and the middle class black woman of his being scared by the revolutionary blacks make for a brilliant film.
A difficult film, both for someone to make in the 70's, and for a modern audience to swallow, but both Film and Novel take their subject matter seriously. This movie took guts.
The militant uprising themes are portrayed through character development, and by the end you are forced to analyze how far the protagonist has progressed, or deluded himself, depending on your point of view. Thankfully, the movie leaves it up to the viewer. To pigeonhole this film as mere propaganda is a bit harsh, as it tells a story not with ideology or metaphor but a well-rounded protagonist, and you are left free to interpret how the film ends.
Yet, the film itself is nothing but a one-trick pony, and cannot rely on gutsy thematic content alone, and the supporting cast is blatantly two-dimensional, the plot, while unique in its setting, is sub-par when you strip away its thematic overtones. The films greatness is dependent on the arguments and thoughts it provokes once it is over, and not on its cinematic merit alone.
The film is trapped in Schroedinger's box, but is well worth the time to examine for yourself, and see what emerges.
December 7, 2008
Good movie with a virtually unknown cast. This movie deals with the topic of the first Black Man in the CIA and what he has to go through to get there. Not so far fetched of a movie now (since Barack Obama achieved the seemingly impossible) but for its time it was.
March 5, 2008
A testament to the legacy of Director Ivan ("Hogans Heroes") Dixon(RIP), the tough excellent & subversive novel on which it was based was vastly superior to this film version, largely due to budget constraints. In fact it is amazing this film was made at all. It was rumored for years that the FBI/CIA obtained all the original prints of this film to keep it out of circulation, but there was one copy that made underground showings, usually at night in local churches nationwide. This film is still capable of shocking the viewer, once they realize where the plot is going and what could have happened if circumstances had aligned as shown. There were 2 other novels released at around the same time ("The Seige" & "Civil War II", one written by the later to be famous "The Executioner/Mack Bolan" author Don Pendelton) both depicting a future where the US Forces are "all-volunteer" and largely Black, where a military coup ensues, basically a patriotic flip-side to the "Spook" storyline (there was also "Barber Shop" speculation these were backed by secret government money to defuse the fallout from "Spook"). This film is non-racist (in comparison to extremely racist fiction like "Turner", that were favorites of terrorists McVey, Franklin, and the murderous thugs of "The Order"), the theme being more "disillusioned patriot" than Marxist, despite the hopes of the leftists. A must-see film (now that it is on DVD) both from historical & artistic standpoints, as well as a warning of how close we came to anarchy at a time of rampant political fratricide, the ripples of which we are still suffering from even today (think Clinton/Pelosi/Obama/Carter/etc)....
January 24, 2008
Not some run of the mill 70's piece of trash. This is cinema at its finest. Well done enough that it seems just as pertinent today as it was back then. Speaks volumes if you have the right ears to listen.
March 13, 2007
Powerful and beautiful display of people of color coming together to fight against a disease that has plagued this country since it's early beginnings. A must see by anyone who is disgusted with prejudice and ignorance.
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