Goldie returns from five years at the state pen and winds up king of the pimping game. Trouble comes in the form of two corrupt white cops and a crime lord who wants him to return to the ... See full summary »
A Mafia buy out of Papa Byrd's karate school downtown ends in his death. Byrd's daughter, Sydney, refuses to sell, and wants revenge. Byrd's students call the Black Belt Jones for help. Jones reluctantly teams with Sydney in many battles.
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Truck is a bounty hunter who gets a job to track down a guy named Gator. When he and his partner find him, a chase ensues and Gator is killed. This makes Gator's woman, Dorinda, very angry ... See full summary »
Tommy Gibbs is a tough kid, raised in the ghetto, who aspires to be a kingpin criminal. As a young boy, his leg is broken by a bad cop on the take, during a payoff gone bad. Nursing his ... See full summary »
It seems that masked men are knocking over the floating crap games of Chalky and Pete. Chalky and Pete hire the cool, loose, elegant Mr. T to fix things. Then, the masked manipulators set ... See full summary »
Friday Foster, an ex-model magazine photographer, goes to Los Angeles International airport to photograph the arrival of Blake Tarr, the richest black man in America. Three men attempt to ... See full summary »
The story of Robert "Iceberg Slim" Beck's journey through a childhood of poverty into an adult life of underworld dealings, prison sentences, and legit businesses. Beck would eventually ... See full summary »
After recognizing Mel Stewart, who is a very good actor, I watched "Trick Baby". I'm glad I did. It turns out that all the acting was very good and so was the script and the location work.
I classify this movie as 70s noir (which runs something like 1965-1980), falling between the classic noir of an earlier era that runs to about 1965 and the more intense neo-noir that starts up somewhere in the 1980s. The 70s noir category has movies like "Dirty Harry", "Lady in Cement", "Klute", "The Last Embrace", "Madigan", "Marlowe", "The Outfit", "The Outside Man", "Prime Cut", and "Play Misty for Me". They are in color, and they have a different look and feel than a black and white noir, but their story elements and characters are what contribute to making them noir. Photographic style and location work add too, but that's another factor that's more technical.
A noir movie often has main characters who are criminals or not fully on the up and up. Here we have two con men, who are likable and who play on people's greed so that the marks who are trying to cheat the con men seem deserving of their fate. A noir movie often has people trying to achieve a dream, like a big score, but then things go wrong, or their errors and emotions lead them astray, or rivalries and others intervene. That element is present here too. The result in many noirs is that there is no happy ending, and that happens here too. Then too, other noir elements are corrupt cops and grotesque side characters, and we definitely get these here. There is one blonde woman in particular who comes to mind who throws herself at the younger con man, who is black but looks white.
So, although the film plays as fun and light in the first third, it grows increasingly serious as it moves on, and that seriousness is a noir quality. Themes enter in having to do with race, racial fear and racial identity, greed and miscalculation, and police corruption.
Like blaxpoitation films from this period, it is set in a black neighborhood and the lead protagonist is black, but it does not at all glorify violence or run into stereotypes. That and its serious themes separate it from the blaxpoitation label. And that's why I think it's more accurate to think of it as in the 70s noir category.
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