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This review is from: Black Caesar [DVD] (DVD)
I love Blaxplotation films, i don't mind whether their campy or more serious like Black Caeser i judge the film as it was intended to be viewed, all are enjoyable in their own right. I can't in honesty give this film anymore than 3 stars though as Director Larry Cohen (It's alive) completely rear ends this movie with his shoddy directing. The story is strong and Willamson is fantastic as Tommy Gibbs, a street punk who works his way up to being the top boss usurping the local mafia in the process. Had this been handled by another director this movie could easily have been taken more seriously by critics and public alike, Cohen's record as a schlock b movie director is pretty bad, even by the standards set by it's peers and Black Caeser never engages as well as it should. Take the scene at the end where Williamson is being chased in a cab by the mafia, it's so badly shot and edited the impact and tension of the scene is never heightened to the level it should have,i know this is a low budget production but so was Shaft which was far more slickly and professionally shot by the excellent Gordon Parks. It sounds like i probably hate this film, i don't, Williamson is superb throughout and is one reason to watch this but i always look at this movie as somewhat as a missed opportunity. I would still recommend this to any fans of the genre but it never quite gelled with me as some of the other movies in this genre did.
As with other MGM soul cinema releases the 1.85 framed transfer is pretty good but not quite as sharp as Coffy or Foxy Brown and a few other releases in this series. The mono soundtrack is unfortunately not quite as good as the others in this collection, the sound can be indistinct in places and sounds shrill and hollow, probably because no ADR or looping was done due to it's low budget.