The Black Godfather Reviews
JJ is a black crime boss that is slowly taking over the entire neighborhood. One of the drugs creeping through his neighborhood is heroine. When JJ does some digging, he discovers the source of the heroine is a rival crime boss in a small corner of an area he doesn't control. JJ decides to extend the reach of his gang and squeeze the heroine dealer out of business. The heroine dealer will not go out quietly.
"You pimp everything and everybody in the neighborhood."
John Evans, director of Speeding up Time, Blackjack, and the upcoming The Accident, delivers The Black Godfather. The storyline for this picture is fairly straightforward and not overly imaginative. The action scenes were okay and the script was fairly clever. The acting was below par and the cast includes Rod Perry, Tony Burton, Damu King, and Jimmy Witherspoon.
"I'll fuck you for it."
"Close your eyes and pretend it's me."
I watched this off Netflix as another potentially interesting Blaxploitation film. I found it just okay with some nice characters and action scenes but a cliché plot and direction. Overall, I recommend seeing this maybe once but it definitely isn't a classic addition to the genre.
"I'm the man that recognizes talent."
This is a run-of-the-mill effort in both genres.
What we get here is the typical story of a street punk who goes from rags to riches and works his way up the ladder to criminal stardom. There's turf wars, drug trades, and a push to force the Man out of the ghetto.
Even such a basic and well worn premise can still make for a good movie if done right. But here, the results are just basic, cookie cutter formula rehashings. It's not even that engaging or memorable of a movie. It does try a little bit, but not nearly enough. At least the music is decent though. That's probably the best part, really. If not for that, this would be even more forgettable.
But the best part is definitely the description of the music in the subtitles. Not that it saves the movie or anything, but it does add an extra star or so of amusement.
Our film opens up with two goons trying to hold up a place and they both end up shot, one dying and the other being taken in by the "Black Godfather" who in turn saves his life. Our "Black Godfather" takes J. J. (NFL star Rod Perry) under his wing and soon J.J. becomes the black godfather himself and decides to clean up his hood from drugs and starts a personal war against a rival white gang.
The perplexing aspect of the plot is that J.J.'s going murders and robs which seems to be kosher but drugs pushes their ethical line over the edge. Murdering in cold blood is so much better than selling crack to a teenager...sheesh. That just makes no sense and the thought of it is quite laugh inducing.
The acting is as expected for a low budget Blaxploiation effort but the filmmaking is quite poor. The direction is shoddy, the sound is deplorable, and the editing is sloppy. I even saw the shadows of the camera crew a few times during driving sequences. The score is just dreadful and makes a blood drop from your ear lob after a half hour of having it stab into your eardrum.
With a title like "The Black Godfather" this should have been a monumental effort in the Blaxploitation subgenre. I mean your referencing one of the best films ever made! Thanks to poor filmmaking all around it doesn't live up to the concept and just comes out being another poorly made Blaxploitation effort . It may not be the worst the genre has to offer, but there are many many many more better examples and I only recommend this for viewing for the most hard-core fans.
"The Black Godfather" is a 1970s crime drama/action film of the blacksploitation school, with all the stereotypes that implies. Nothing that happens and nothing that is said is any surprise--except perhaps for the drag-queen assassin with the blowgun--and my guess isthat you've seen what this film has to offer done better elsewhere. Plus, it's short on drama and action, but long on talkie bits espousing black power, coming from a guy who ultimately is just looking to enrich himself. (At least there's the counterpoint in the form of a thug who truly is devoted to the concept of black empowerment.)
The one thing this movie has going for is is a cast of actors who are better-than-usual for movies of this type and in this budget range. Despite the movie's sluggish pacing and cliched story and characters, these excellent actors manage to keep the viewers engaged. (In fact, I don't think there's anyone who appears in a speaking role who didn't deserve to be in a better movie than this.
Starring: Rod Perry, Don Chastain, Jimmy Witherspoon, Damu King,and Duncan McLeod
Director: John Evans