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The Final Comedown (1972)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  April 1972 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 187 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 2 critic

Black revolutionaries take action in the white suburbs.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Johnny Johnson
D'Urville Martin ...
Billy Joe Ashley
...
Rene Freeman (as Celia Kaye)
Raymond St. Jacques ...
Imir
...
...
Mrs. Johnson
Ed Cambridge ...
Dr. Smalls
Billy Durkin ...
Michael Freeman
Morris D. Erby ...
Mr. Johnson
Pamela Jones ...
Luanna
Cal Wilson
John Johnson
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rhonda Brown
Clifford Choice
Marlene Czernin
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Storyline

Black revolutionaries take action in the white suburbs.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The man got down...the brothers were ready... You must see it! It's a mother! See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

April 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blast!  »

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(Metrocolor)

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Not just "blaxploitation"
10 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Far more than the majority of exploitation-oriented releases that defined "blaxploitation," this 1972 is inspired by the prior "Sweet Sweetback" in its flashback structure and overt Black Power agenda. It's not primarily about violence and T&A, though there's some of both. Billy Dee Williams (in a role strikingly different to his in "Lady Sings the Blues" that same year) plays an angry young man gradually radicalized by racial injustices, leading to his being besieged by police as a Panthers-type leader in the present-tense framing sequences.

"Final Comedown" is no zenith of the cinematic arts--it's dated and crude at times. But it also makes an effort not to be cartoonish: There are scenes in which some white people (notably a Jewish couple, an employment-office secretary, and some SDS types) are outraged by the racism of other white people. There are also scenes that rather charmingly exist just to promote local (I'm presuming L.A.) black-owned businesses, a diner and Africanist clothes store included.

The film touches on a lot of then (still?) relevant points, from Vietnam War post-traumatic stress to drug addiction. It's not subtle or slick, but it really tries to articulate all complicated causes for Black Power rage, not just exploit them as a trendy attitude a la Superfly, Slaughter, Shaft, Rudy Ray Moore (much as I love that guy!), etc. Some eventual cruel ironies are well-judged, though it must be said the overall narrative shaping as well as the huge death-toll shootout sequences are pretty clumsy.

This isn't exactly a good film, but it reflects its precise cultural moment in ways more mainstream films seldom did/do. Despite all rough edges it's a more complicated and intelligent narrative airing of U.S. racial tensions circa 1972 than many better-known films. In that sense it's the antithesis of the terrific current parody "Black Dynamite," which made fun of the period's tritest "blaxploitation" films. This one isn't laughable--it's a serious statement. (Though the major histrionics by veteran actress Maidie Norman as Williams' mother are pretty humorous.)


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