Startlingly amateurish—we’re talking flubbed takes in the final cut, disjointed edits between shots that don’t match, and some of the worst acting ever recorded on celluloid—this late addition to the blaxploitation cycle is nearly a parody of itself. Starring lanky Loye Hawkins as a detective who becomes involved with several cases in Miami, The Guy from Harlem aspires to the attitude of Shaft but instead conveys the bargain-basement awfulness of an Ed Wood movie. The storyline comprises a number of uninteresting and unrelated episodes; the action scenes are spectacularly incompetent, with performers reacting to kicks and punches that didn’t land anywhere near them; and the dialogue is embarrassingly stupid (“You and I have the same color outfit—why don’t we go down to the disco tonight?”). The gist of the piece is that Al Connors (Hawkins), whom we’re reminded several times is indeed a guy from Harlem, is an African-American equivalent of Mike Hammer. Accepting assignments in his small office, which comes complete with a sassy/sexy secretary, Al protects an African princess and delivers ransom money for a mobster whose daughter has been kidnapped. In the first scenario, he sleeps with the princess when he should be guarding her, and in the second, he quits the job halfway through. Say what? Also thrown into this interminable mess of a picture are a couple of martial-arts scenes, which are exactly as incongruous as you might imagine.
The Guy from Harlem: SQUARE