Saturday, January 9, 2016

Disco 9000 (1976)



“He’s got a plan that makes him king of boogie-land.” Or so we’re told about protagonist Fass Black in the title song of Disco 9000. Sometimes marketed under the title Fass Black, this tedious blaxploitation flick explores the life of an entrepreneur who owns a successful discotheque on the Sunset Strip, as well as a record label that pumps out a steady stream of dancefloor hits. The anemic plot has a crime hook, because out-of-town gangsters try to muscle into the LA market by intimidating Fass into playing records from mob-owned labels at his club, the top influencer in the SoCal disco scene. Meanwhile, Fass juggles relationships with his wife, his mistress, and various other women. Yes, it’s another spin on the “black kingpin” trope so common to blaxploitation flicks, and neither director D’Urville Martin (better known as an actor) nor writer Roland S. Jefferson M.D. (whose medical credential appears onscreen) generates much heat. The narrative is plodding and predictable, with large chunks of screen time devoted to unimaginatively filmed dance performances. Worse, the only character with any flair is Fass’ pugnacious sidekick, Midget (played by famed dancer Harold Nicholas). Considering the colorful milieu of a nightclub, D’Urville’s lack of cinematic dynamism is galling. Viewers are shown the same drab cutaways of neon lights again and again, and the soundtrack is just as repetitive—after watching Disco 9000, you’ll need a long reprieve from hearing Johnnie Taylor’s slinky hit “Disco Lady,” which is featured way too many times. Oh, and there’s a reason why leading man John Poole’s career never caught fire after he played Fass Black. “Bland” is too generous a word for describing his screen presence. He delivers a performance as stiff and unoriginal as the movie surrounding him.

Disco 9000: LAME

3 comments:

Booksteve said...

His anyone ever written extensively about D'urville Martin? Seems like the man had an interesting under the radar career both in front of and behind the camera.

Djdallabill said...

Great movie

Unknown said...

I feel Disco 9000 really captures the originality of the 70s and what made it an epic time......neither drugs or sex were deadly and the sky was the limit......Fass character was based on Don Cornelius for sure....The plot had potential but the soundtrack must be extended.....More independent films should be done.....I like the scene in the club when the other club owner said the mob doesn't bother him because he is in the ghetto.....WOW.....I appreciate the work they put in to make the movie happen....flaws and all....Sam Alix