Penitentiary 2 Reviews
We have a text crawl at the beginning echoing "Star Wars", hip hop roller boogie, Mr. T, Ernie Hudson, as nemesis "Half Dead", with a permanent constipated scowl, leg warmers, sweat bands, unitards -- and this is all in the first 10 minutes or so. The story is about as simplistic as "Rocky 3", and Mr. T confirms his lack of acting range but makes up for it with his usual growling one liners and genuine boxing moves. Also, he is inexplicably holding an Arabian lamp that gushes out purple smoke throughout the last half of this movie. Tony Cox must have been an extra, but Fanaka liked him so much he gets his own subplot about earning enough money in a craps game to hire a singing prostitute. And the hookers' "National Anthem" rendition is surprisingly great.
Sure, Leon Isaac Kennedy as Too Sweet can't act worth a damn, but compared to Mr. T he's Laurence Freaking Olivier. Somehow Hudson ended up in the cast of "Ghostbusters" two years after this weirdness. Get a load of Half Dead's rainbow afro wig and wraparound shades during a "tense" locker room confrontation that's plenty homoerotic. That's to be expected in any movie made in the 1980s that revolves around intimate male conflict. Fanaka's "Emma Mae" and "Welcome Home, Brother Charles" are more traditional 70s blaxploitation pics with the same fearlessly weird personality transforming archetypical material. Don't blow off his commentary, sucka!