Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Guy from Harlem (1977)

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


Guy Callaway said...

What with the nonexistent production values and short running time, this felt to me like a porno with the sex scenes snipped.

Unknown said...

Caught this on "Rifftrax" over the weekend and thought it had to be circa '71-'72 . I was shocked to learn it came out in '77. Perhaps it had sat on the shelf for a number of years before finding a distributor? Then again, 1977 gave us another Ed Wood-esque blaxploitation entry that looked about five years behind the times: the godawful "Abar: the First Black Superman."