I Saw A Film!
A well-crafted parody of 70’s black action films focused on the usual plot points of drug use, organized crime, the return of prodigal sons, and a desire to roll all the themes into one sweet disco-dancing, bad-joking, fake kung-fu package. Add to that the wonderful collection of star power the Wayan Brothers were able to collect, from Huggy Bear to Isaak Hayes, we get Jim Brown and a terrific Bernie Casey as a retired hero brought back by Keenan’s hopeful desire to bring about justice. Meanwhile two hilarious schleps (one of them Damon Wayans) keep taking pot-shots at our heroes. John Vernon (from Dirty Harry to Animal House) plays Mr. Big and is terrific in the role. Everyone brings it to this slick product, and it does not suffer much from being thirty-plus years old. Seeing these actors all so baby-faced is worth the investment alone, but, the reality is you’ll find yourself chuckling along with many of the gags, especially the handful of “meta”, “fourth wall” crashing.
The story, at first, is about the death of neighborhood goofball lured into wearing too many gold chains, which literally wrap the fool’s body like a Houdini escape act. Deadly fashion fills in for drugs in our story. There are several kinds of humor on display, there’s the gross-out gag, a legendary bunion bothering our aging action hero. There’s the unexpected fun of an ass-kicking momma, probably more effective than she should be, and especially in a particular street sequence when instead of a stuntman filling in for her, a very poorly disguised stunt man with a massive mustache fills in for her for added guffaws. Our two bumbling hit-men who get run out of every sequence, being told to either take the window or take the stairs end up rolling down the stairs each time. A couple of the conflicting participants admit to not knowing any kung-fu but agree to fake it in a kooky fight sequence. A cute date picked up in a bar, turns out to have so few real parts that she literally pops her ass off after revealing her real eyes and hair. Antonio Fargas has platform shoes with actual goldfish in them (of course he breaks them). What is fun here is the amount of unexpected surprises wrapped around the overall joy of taking down the baddies. There isn’t a lot that’s a challenge here (the fellows stay out of heavier themes of racism or poverty which keeps the film a pure farce). What is impressive is how much Keenan Ivory Wayans manages to do with the basics.
This, along with their fantastic In Living Color, series are a tour-de-force of comedy brilliance that has seldom been matched in a post Monty Python world.
This is free on Prime (in the US) and pure good fun.