Top positive review
15 people found this helpful
[3.5]--"Let's get down to some serious B&tt-kicking business.",
on 3 July 2007
I don't understand anyone who says that this is one of the worst exploitation films they have ever seen. Just the title alone gives this cult status and all the ingredients are here for it being an extremely fun film to watch. Yeah I'll admit that women's Prison flicks are terrible. They are all about getting girls naked. BAD action sequences & Horrible acting always plague these movies. They're usually made for teenagers who watch late night SKINemax. Black Mama White Mama on the other hand is fun. It doesn't take it self seriously. It even has drama that is topped off with a dramatic ending.
Cult figure Pam Grier gets her first starring role in this WIP ("Women in Prison"). She plays a convicted hooker who escapes from prison, chained together to another prisoner (a white woman convicted of sedition). The film starts off as any typical 1970s exploitation movie, but it changes gears quickly, becoming a female variation of Kramer's The Defiant Ones (1958). It is a welcome twist to the old formula. Grier is allowed to play a more feminine, gentler role here, and she does a great job with her character. Margaret Markov is effective as Grier's unlikely partner in crime. Fans of Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses (2003) and The Devil's Rejects (2005) will recognize cult character actor Sid Haig; he is a hoot as Ruben The Cowboy.
Plenty of violence, blood, and sex are combined with a silly subplot about a group of revolutionaries. I thought director Romero did a good job in sustaining the initial momentum, and I liked how the potentially sappy finale remained tough and cruel to the very last second. Morally dubious, but entertaining, and a great showcase for the incomparable Pam Grier. Co-written by Jonathan Demme. This would probably get an NC-17 if released today.
One thing for sure is that you won't ever see a film like this and probably never would. "Black Mama, White Mama" is certainly not a masterpiece but it is worth a look.