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Thursday, October 2, 2014

HIT MAN (1974)

Cult favorite GET CARTER/’71, an unusually raw revenge outing for Michael Caine from underperforming helmer Mike Hodges, got a pointless 2000 remake with Sly Stallone. But who knew Ted Lewis’s source novel (‘Jack’s Return Home’) had also been trotted out as a Blaxploitation pic? The basic set-up still follows a brother’s hunt for the man (or men) who killed his sibling, but now the vengeful brother is . . . er, a ‘Brotha.’ Specifically, Bernie Casey, a thickly muscled type who unfortunately lacks the focus & charisma to lift this vehicle out of second gear. Not much help from George Armitage’s wan script & megging, either. A shame because the cultural extremes of 1974 Funk are plenty fun to check out. Casey’s color-co-ordinated outfits (and hat for every occasion) are an eye-searing treat, and the wide variety of Afros will bring back many nightmarish memories for anyone who ever got seated behind one. Pam Grier, in a role that hardly lives up to her second billing, has the most impressive ‘do,’ but since she plays a porn actress, you may not always be checking out her hair. Nice transfer, too.

DOUBLE-BILL: Rare is the Blaxploitation pic that lives up to its decidedly funky trailer. Instead, see Pam Grier at full wattage in Quentin Tarantino’s superior JACKIE BROWN/’97.

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