Examines the tumultuous life of legendary Chicago pimp Iceberg Slim (1918-1992) and how he reinvented himself from pimp to author of 7 groundbreaking books. These books were the birth of ... 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 »
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 »
When a quiet group of pensioners learn that their homes are to be torn down to make way for a block of flats, they decide to take action. What starts as an attempt to discourage the ... See full summary »
Based on the novel by Robert Beck (who uses the truly awesome pseudonym "Iceberg Slim"), this is a very fine crime drama, set and shot entirely in Philly. Mel Stewart ('Scarecrow and Mrs. King') and Kiel Martin ('Hill Street Blues') are engaging as a black veteran con artist and his supposedly half black protégé. They are generally successful at their trade, but they end up buying trouble for themselves when one of their marks turns out to be the uncle of a mob boss. (Naturally, the mobster wants revenge.) They also get mixed up with a crooked detective (Dallas Edward Hayes), and try for a hefty payday with a shady land development deal.
While at first glance, this might *seem* like blaxploitation, it isn't really. It's more of a modern urban predecessor to "The Sting" with an integrated cast. It's fundamentally an entertaining story, well told by co-screenwriter and director Larry Yust ("Homebodies"). It's violent, but not violent enough to turn off more squeamish viewers, and it's sexy without ever becoming overtly sleazy. It benefits a lot from the Philly location shooting, and the story keeps you hooked, wondering what will become of our anti-heroes. "Folks" (Martin) does worry that they are getting in over their heads, and urges "Blue" (Stewart) to try to leave the life. Blue, however, is much too enticed by the prospect of what waits for them inside a safety deposit box.
"Trick Baby" (the title refers to people such as Folks) has some very enjoyable dialogue, and solid atmosphere. At the heart of the film is the excellent chemistry between Stewart and Martin. Hayes is superb in support, and there's an appealing supporting performance by the sexy young Vernee Watson ('The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air') as Blues' much younger wife. Future 'Love Boat' bartender Ted Lange plays a pimp, and Thomas Anderson & Clebert Ford make the most out of their brief appearances. The music by James Bond is as delightful as any you'll hear in the blaxploitation genre.
Well worth a look for any lover of movies about con artists.
Eight out of 10.
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