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The 100




Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song
(1971)
Reviewed by Ken M. Wilson
Rating: 10 Beans

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rom the bowels of cinematic hell comes this grandfather of all blaxploitation films. Written, directed, produced, and containing music <bgsound="http://www.hit-n-run.com/reviews/sounds/sweet.wav">composed by star of the film Melvin Van Peebles (father of Mario "I was Solo!" Van Peebles), "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" was dedicated to "all the Brothers and Sisters who have had enough of The Man." It went on to pave the way for such legendary films as "Shaft," "Super Fly," and "Foxy Brown" as well as the not-so-legendary films "Dolemite II: The Human Tornado," "Black Belt Jones," and "Blackenstein."

I sat down to watch "Sweet Sweetback" and was lost from the very beginning. The opening sequence, bordering on child pornography, would never slip by the protestors of today. Yet, in 1971, this movie made its debut in (according to the box) two theatres and endured a torrent of negative reviews before going on to gross $10,000,000. Go figure.

The movie breaks down like this -- Sweet Sweetback is a lover-extraordinaire (he nails just about every female in the film) that rises up against two white cops and beats them down while they are picking on a local militant leader. From here we watch Sweetback run... and run... and run... and run... and run... and run... and run, trying to make his way to Mexico before he gets caught. Along the way, Sweetback encounters various people that matter little to the story but are just there for the hell of it, it seems. Dialogue is sparse throughout most of the film -- how much time is there to talk when you're setting the world's record for the most profitable cross-country video on the market? -- making the story hard to follow unless you've merely dismissed it as a dude running from the long-arm of the law.

I rate this film as a ten Beaner without even a second thought on the matter. "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song," although giving birth to the blaxploitation genre, has to be one of the most horrible films to endure by any one person. There should be support groups for viewers who intend to sit through the movie. We've challenged one another to sit through the film for its entirety without becoming so bored that it goes off... and no one has done it yet. There is nothing one can do to prepare himself for the full ninety-seven minutes of the film whose tag-line is "Rated X by an all white jury."

Fun things to do during this movie: sleep (I drifted off two nights in a row before FINALLY finishing this film three and a half days after beginning it), try to figure out a way to not get the Sweetback theme song stuck in your head -- it simply will not work; and contemplating which of your friends to whom you're gonna recommend the film.


Other reviews for this movie:

Scott Murdock




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