Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Fox Style (1973)

The bones of a uniquely American tale are buried somewhere inside the blaxploitation-inflected sludge of Fox Style, because the picture concerns a self-made man forced to rediscover the small-town values that he discarded while achieving success. Unfortunately, cowriter/director Clyde Houston’s storytelling is choppy and inconsistent, his cast features too many unskilled performers, and the vibe of the piece toggles between frivolous nonsense and serious social drama. The picture begins with a prologue in Texas, where African-American entrepreneur A.J. Fox (Chuck Daniel) and his white business partner, Pat Wolf (Newell Alexander), strike oil. Fox Style then cuts ahead a few years, by which point A.J. controls an empire comprising nightclubs and other enterprises. His mother, Hattie (Juanita Moore), calls him because the factory that provides most of the jobs in A.J.’s rural hometown has closed. She asks him to invest in the business, thus keeping the town alive. A.J. learns that corrupt whites living nearby plan to acquire the factory and some adjoining lands, so A.J. outbids them during a public auction—and then discovers valuable resources hidden on the property in question. A blandly depicted war ensues. Had Houston constructed distinctive characters and a propulsive narrative to deliver his basic concept, Fox Style could have become rousing entertainment. Instead, it’s quite tedious, with cartoonish bad guys conspiring to undo the good deeds of the underwritten protagonist. Making matters worse, Daniel is a competent actor but an ineffectual leading man, so the only player who makes an impression is Hank Rolike, who plays a cheerfully boozy and lecherous country preacher.

Fox Style: LAME

1 comment:

Tommy Ross said...

You did it again Peter! Fox Style? Where do you get this stuff! Well, this one just went to the top of my list to track down and watch ;-)