blaxploitation, crime, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: May 2nd, 2014 Movie – The Black Godfather

the black godfather

Ok, I think this is the last of the Blaxploitation movies for a while, at least I hope so. I don’t mind watching one every now and then and I can understand their place in movie history but for the most part, they honestly don’t really do much for me, entertainment wise. Anyways, once again I don’t remember much about this movie but it seems like this one might be a little interesting based on the general premise. Well, no time to waste so might as well jump right into my re-watching of The Black Godfather.

The plot: Tommy and J.J. are walking down the street and when they get to a house, they head up to it and Tommy kicks open the door and attempts to kill the man inside, only to have his gun jam on him. The man shoots Tommy twice, then shoots J.J. when he tries to run, hitting him in the arm. J.J, helps Tommy into an alley, where he dies in his arms, and as J.J. tries to leave, he is found an helped by a man named Nate Williams, who takes the bullet out of J.J.’s arm and tends to his wound. The next day, J.J. is shocked to learn exactly who it was that saved him and as he talks with Nate, Nate tells him that he was impressed with the fact that J.J. attempted to rob the home of a known gangster. He then decides to help J.J. by offering him advice on how to survive on the streets, then gives him some money to get himself cleaned up and tells him to come back that night so they can continue their conversation. Some time later, J.J. has risen in power on the streets and is trying to take out a white drug trafficker named Tony Burton. He meets up with another man named Diablo about the matter but Diablo is not interested in forming an alliance, especially with J.J., as he feels J.J. is no better than Tony. J.J.convinces him that he doesn’t care about what happens on the streets, so long as Tony isn’t pushing his drugs in their community and Diablo lists off some demands before he agrees to an alliance, which J.J. approves. Later, Lieutenant Joe, a crooked cop that is on the take from Tony and several other people, shows up at J.J.’s club to have a meeting with J.J. J.J. tells Joe to deliver a message to Tony that he isn’t allowed in the black community any more or else there will be a war. Joe leaves the club and will heads over to Tony’s house and relays J.J.’s message. Tony asks if he can be pressured to back down and Joe says he might be able to but there is no way to be certain it will work out in Tony’s favor, as J.J. is determined to get rid of him. Meanwhile, J.J. has a meeting with Nate and talks about the situation with Tony and Nate ends up arguing with J.J. about his plans but tells him that while he doesn’t support it, he will not stand in his way either. The next day, Tony pays a visit to Nate and tries to pressure him into putting things back the way they were, as his men are being harassed and he is losing money but Nate refuses to get involved, saying maybe it is time for a change. Later, Tony is at the gym with Nate and another man, Sonny, and Nate worries J.J. is making a mistake but J.J. tells him to just worry about his own territory and he will deal with Tony. The next day, one of Tony’s drug dealers is captured by Diablo and his men and they take him back to their hideout and interrogate him, where he tells them about an upcoming shipment but he doesn’t know any details so they let him go. Later, Diablo and some men head out and kill another dealer of Tony’s. Joe goes to see Tony and tells him about what is happening and Tony wants Joe to get involved directly to help him regain his territory and when Joe refuses, he blackmails him into doing it. J.J. and his group have a meeting and J.J. says that they need to find out the details about when it is coming in. Meanwhile, Joe calls Tony that he will hear about what happened on the evening news and When Tony hears the story, he laughs and says that that will teach J.J., while J.J. works on bailing out Diablo and his men, and then they finalize their plans to steal Tony’s shipment. Some time later, J.J. and his men ambush the shipment, killing all of Tony’s men that were there, and attempt to steal the drugs but the car with the drugs ends up getting blown up. When he hears about it, Tony yells at Joe for allowing it to happen when J.J. calls, taunting him about his missing drugs. Tony, Joe, and some of Tony’s men pay a visit to Nate and Tony questions Nate about where J.J. is. When Nate tells him that he doesn’t know where J.J. is, Tony ends up killing Joe, Sonny, and Nate, then takes Nate’s daughter Yvonne with him when he leaves. The next day, J.J., Diablo, and the other men are out there hideout when they hear the news report about Nate, Joe, and Sonny’s death. J.J. and Diablo get into an argument about what all is happening, but J.J. eventually pacifies him saying that their fight is out their with Tony, not in her against each other. Tony calls J.J. and offers to make an exchange, Yvonne and some money in exchange for his drugs, and J.J. agrees to it but says that Tony should bring just one man. J.J. had recorded the call and as he is playing it back, one of his men says he recognizes the bells in the background as coming from a church he knows. Trying to figure out a way to find Yvonne in that area, J.J. decides to send out flyers to all of the domestic workers in the area in the hopes that one of them might have seen her. A hospital worker sees Yvonne’s picture and says he saw some men bring her into a private suite in the hospital and J.J.’s man calls J.J. with the  news. Tony has Yvonne call J.J., then sets the time and date for the exchange but J.J. knows where they are and heads there with Diablo and some men. Reaching the suite, they get in a shootout with Tony’s men and Diablo is wounded but Tony is able to get away down the staircase with Yvonne. J.J. and Diablo follow after him and when Tony holds up in the kitchen, he demands J.J. throw him his heroin but Yvonne grabs a cleaver and hits him in the back of the head when his back is turned, killing him, and J.J. quickly grabs her and they leave the hospital.

All things considered, this actually wasn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was pretty decent, with Rod Perry (J.J.), Don Chastain (Tony), and Jimmy Witherspoon (Nate) all doing pretty good jobs in their roles. The story was pretty good but I felt like they let some scenes play out a lot longer than was necessary and honestly kind of killed any sort of mood that was attempted to be built. There were also a couple of times where they kind of cut away at odd moments without any real explanation, which also didn’t help the plot much. The action scenes were pretty slow paced and didn’t really have any action to them, accept for when Tony was beating Nate for J.J.’s location. That honestly felt like the realest bit of action in the movie. It’s a decent movie but did leave some room for improvement.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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