The long line of great blaxploitation films does not get much better than this example of the ghetto gangster, rags to riches story. And there is no action star better suited to it than Fred Williamson. From lowly bootblack to numbers courier and finally a hit-man himself dedicated to owning the streets, Tommy upsets his family, friends, and lady by getting rough and bloody against the racism of the time. While Tommy can speak Sicilian the Italian organized criminals can only see his skin color.
The film has many unfortunate moments, not the least of which is how Tommy treats his lady, who eventually finds her way to a gentler companion. There are few surprises in the frustrations of mamma’s death, to the threatening of the poppa who left them as kids. All the right elements for the street are served up on the platter. And the broomstick Mauser handgun is literally passed on through the generations.
This is no lighthearted Rudy Ray Moore lark. This thing is stark and mean, and in the end Tommy has to contend with the real denizens of the gutter. As he falls, he secures the likely fates of a dozen more city kids. Heavy-handed? Possibly. But the truth of poverty and crime in ghetto neighborhoods has not much changed despite our clear understanding of it’s causes.
This is running about four bucks on Prime. There isn’t much else to say about this tough delivery.