Friday, October 3, 2014

The Black Six (1974)

Plenty of athletes have transitioned to interesting movie careers, so there’s nothing wrong, per se, with Hollywood plucking potential stars from the ranks of the NFL. Nonetheless, the makers of the biker flick The Black Six took a big risk by populating the entire principal cast with current NFL players, only one of whom had acted previously. Suffice to say, the risk did not pay off, because The Black Six is a forgettable and occasionally nonsensical exploitation picture that not only suffers from incompetent acting but also lacks any real dramatic interest. The movie boasts a smidgen of novelty because of the sports angle and because there weren’t many biker movies with predominantly black casts, but a vast sea of tedium exists between the movie’s violent opening and closing scenes. When the picture begins, a young black man making out with a white woman on a football field at night is fatally assaulted by a motorcycle gang that’s led by the white woman’s white-supremacist brother. The picture then cuts to a black motorcycle gang driving aimlessly around the American countryside. Turns out the black bikers are Vietnam vets, and they’re getting by on odd jobs while reorienting to civilian life. The movie paints a confusing picture of the “Black Six,” because in one scene they help out a little old lady by fixing her barn free of charge, and in the next scene they destroy a greasy-spoon diner because the proprietor is a racist. In any event, when gang member Bubba Williams (Gene Washington) receives word that his brother was killed—the murder from the beginning of the picture—Bubba heads home to investigate. His fellow bikers tag along. The middle of the picture contains lifeless scenes of Bubba performing detective work and reconnecting with his high-school sweetheart, who has become a prostitute. Eventually, Bubba discovers who was responsible for his brother’s death, sparking a gigantic brawl involving bikers throwing lit flares at each other. Cheaply made and poorly written, The Black Six is disposable in every regard, even though it contains the film debut of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene, who later starred in an iconic Coca-Cola commercial.

The Black Six: LAME

No comments: