Dave Anderson and Manny Durrell are two high-class sneak thieves who have never been caught. Joshua Burke is a retired detective who has enough evidence on the both of them to put them ... See full summary »
Dave Anderson and Manny Durrell are two high-class sneak thieves who have never been caught. Joshua Burke is a retired detective who has enough evidence on the both of them to put them behind bars. Instead, he offers to maintain his silence if the crooks will go straight and do work at a youth center for delinquents. At first, the crooks are reluctant and unwilling (and so are the kids). As time goes by they gain the trust and admiration of the kids and they start to enjoy the job. All goes well until someone out of the past tells them they have to do one last heist...or else... Written by
A Piece of the Action provides an enjoyable final teaming of Poitier and Cosby
In reviewing films involving African-Americans in chronological order for Black History Month, we're now at 1977 with A Piece of the Action. This is the third and last teaming of Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby and the fifth directorial effort of Poitier. Before I go on, I'd just like to note that this movie takes place and is filmed in Chicago, Ill., which was where I was born and lived for the first six years of my life. The music composer, Curtis Mayfield, himself was a Windy City native. Also, since I'm now a Louisiana resident, I'd like to mention that one cast member-Eric Laneuville-is from New Orleans. Okay, here's the premise: Both Cosby and Poitier, separately since they don't know each other in the beginning, have taken large amounts of money from the bank and the mob, respectively. James Earl Jones, as a retired police detective, blackmails them to work at a community center to avoid going to jail. I'll stop there and say while there's plenty of laughs from both of the leads and some of the characters that surround them (love the parents and relatives of Poitier's girlfriend Nikki, one of whom is played by "Good Times" Ja'net DuBois), this was also a pretty serious movie about getting ghetto kids to get honest jobs with Poitier acting like his teacher role from To Sir, With Love with good results. Also loved Cosby's flirtations with Denise Nicholas and the way she laughs at his lines and faces. Oh, and the janitor, Mr. Theodore is played by Sidney's older brother Cyril. While the film is pretty long and some scenes are short-cut with a line, this was a pretty enjoyable movie that made me a little sad that Poitier choose to concentrate on directing at the expense of his performing career for the next 11 years. When he did come back, however, he did manage to still entertain in various features and TV movies though he hasn't been in anything since 2001. If what he did then was the last of his work, then at least he has a wonderful legacy. As for Dr. Cosby, his peak of success was to come with "The Cosby Show" which was one of the last enjoyable family sitcoms to come on network TV. For anyone wanting to see Poitier and Cosby as a team however, Uptown Saturday Night, Let's Do It Again, and A Piece of the Action provide plenty of enjoyment for fans of both.
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