Thursday, June 30, 2016

Black Angels (1970)

It almost goes without saying that most biker movies are terrible, since nearly all of them were low-budget exploitation flicks, but it’s still dismaying to encounter a flick like Black Angels, which has meaty moments but is so discombobulated, grungy, and vapid that it lacks  impact. In fact, it’s even difficult to identify the main character, not that any of the people onscreen emerge as distinct individuals. As for the title, while Black Angels features a scooter club exclusively comprising African-Americans, they’re not the main focus. Plus, whenever the term “black angel” is used in dialogue, it’s a derogatory term referring to insidious cops. Whatever. The picture gets off to a confusing start when an African-American biker breaks the window of a bedroom where a white biker is making out with his mama. An epic chase through Los Angeles ensues, with some cool POV shots, but things get even murkier thanks to choppy editing and incomprehensible screen direction. The takeaway is that biker-hating cop Lt. Harper (Clancy Syrko) saw the whole chase and its explosive conclusion. Lt. Harper then visits an all-black gang and an all-white gang, hoping to foment conflict so the bikers kill each other. Or something like that. Lots of stuff happens, though the importance of events and the relationships between them are not explained well, but every so often a colorful piece of dialogue pops. When a biker bitch-slaps a queeny delivery guy, the victim’s prissy reading of the line “Oh, that smarts!” is perfect. Later, when biker Frenchy (John Donovan) mockingly urinates on thuggish Big Jim (James Whitworth), Big Jim exclaims, “This time I’m gonna kill you, Frenchy, you filthy, no-good, egg-suckin’, finger-lickin’, snot-pickin’, scuzzy-faced rat!” Finger-lickin’? Really? The picture also includes a racially charged rape scene (“Soul brother, we gonna have us a honky tonight—a dynamite honky!”), lots of fuzzy-guitar rock music, and a bizarre climax involving a rumble, a baby, snakes, and a mountain lion.

Black Angels: LAME

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

this sounds amazing