BAMF Blaxploitation Archive – BUCKTOWN

bucktownBAMF’s Blaxploitation Archive is a collection of reviews originally written in the 1990s that appeared in the pages of BadAzz MoFo. This review and many others have been reprinted and collected in BadAzz MoFo’s Book of Blaxploitation, Volume One, which is now available for purchase.

BUCKTOWN 1975 director: Arthur Marks; starring: Fred Williamson, Thalmus Raulala, Pam Grier, Tony King, Art Lund, Bernie Hamilton
Duke Johnson (Williamson) shows up in Bucktown, the most corrupt city on the face of the Earth, to bury his brother Ben (as in sibling, not soul brotha). When Duke inherits his brother’s bar, the Club Alabam, he gets more than any brotha could hope for, namely Pam Grier (who gets nekkid, and does the tango skin polka with Fred). Duke also inherits unwanted hassles from the local redneck police force, which are actually the same honkys that inflicted his brother with a terminal case of the deaths. Turns out Duke’s brother refused to pay the peckerwood police their shakedown money, so he got croaked. And you thought I was bullshitin’ when I said this was a corrupt town. Well, let’s just say upitty Negro-ism runs in the family, and it ain’t long before the cops start throwin’ lead at our hero. Outnumbered and outgunned, Duke calls in for reinforcements. Soon the cavalry arrives, lead by Roy (Rasulala), and backed up by muscleheads T.J. (King) and Hambone (Carl Weathers). Quicker than you can say “Here I come to save the day,” Duke, Roy and the rest of the gang place the police force of Bucktown on a serious diet of nothing but hot lead, administered by way of cold steel. With all the deputies dead, and the sheriff locked in the hoosegow, Roy and company take over the police force.

All of this would be Kool & the Gang, except that you can put a spade in a cop uniform, but he’s still a spade; and as it turns out, the new officers of the law are more corrupt than their original ofay counterparts. Soon, Duke is forced to battle his lifelong homeboy. With the help of a pair of bolt cutters and a little kid, our hero manages to steal a tank from the local National Guard armory (without repercussions). Duke jacks the tank with an ease found only in an AIP flick, and then proceeds to dispense with the death certificates. Throughout all of this Pam Grier whines a lot, Thalmus Rasulala’s talent is wasted, Bernie Hamilton is a fat, drunken slob, and Tony King chews his gum like a cow smackin’ on his cud; and somehow, I don’t think this bad boy is the highpoint of anyone’s career.

Not to sound like some sissified punk, but Bucktown is one of the most mean-spirited flicks I’ve ever seen. The shit ain’t as bad as Fight for Your Life, but it is almost on par with something like Black Gestapo (although not nearly as cinematically craptacular). In other words, this ain’t a flick that’s overflowing with redeeming values. Somehow Bucktown manages to be anti-whitey, and offensively racist at the same time (which I guess makes it a lot like me). But Bucktown’s worst crime is not the sadistic way the characters treat each other, it’s not the cliché ridden script, it’s not the poorly developed, hackneyed characters, and it’s not even the absolute ridiculousness of it all. No, the worst crime of Bucktown is the way this sumbitch drags. Don’t get me wrong, this ain’t the worst film I’ve seen, but it sure as hell does get boring. I can’t say don’t watch it, but on the flip side, I can’t really say it’s mandatory viewing. Everybody involved in the film has done better work at one point or another, and what we’re left with is a film that doesn’t amount to much more than filler. There are some fun moments, but if you want to see much better films by director Arthur Marks, check out Detroit 9000, JD’s Revenge, or even Friday Foster.

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