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Pretty Entertaining
verbusen5 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Some more input from the other review here, I caught a good print of this on TCM Middle East so maybe TCM US will play it sometime also. I enjoyed this escapist entertainment, you definitely would not take this movie seriously in any way. It's the kind of movie you would have caught at a drive thru or at a 2nd tier movie theater like on 42nd street in the 70's. Umong the best reasons to see this is a long full frontal of Pam Greere's bust, something that other movies she made early on lack but people rent just to see (like me, lol). As far as that goes, may I say that some things are best left to the imagination, the real thing will never live up to the fantasy (if there's a Rachel Welch/ Sophia Lauren/Gina Lola.... movie out there with actual nudity I'll pass now, I'd hate to spoil those fantasy's). The Asphalt Jungle is one of my favorite movies so thats the second reason why I wanted to see it (the Pam Greer factor was an unexpected surprise because I didn't know she was in this film). It's a low budget Blaxploitation film and of the few I've seen its better than most and for the white boy that I am kept me watching till the end (I lost interest in the others pretty fast). There's a good bit of T&A and a lot of it is nude, big pluses for me in a low budget flick. The story deviates from the earlier version but its not a bad thing, it's almost a must have for this to have some type of "good" ending. I didn't think the Whites were made too stupid or bad which was good, and probably makes this hold up better as time goes on. I really liked the acting by Sam Laws by the way, he did alright as did most of the cast and the ladies were very pretty (God I'm fixated on the babes in this flick, lol). Catch the sign at the Bathhouses front counter that says "No Homos Allowed" .....classic. 7/10 for the entertainment factor.
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Works way better than you might think.
Boba_Fett113812 April 2008
A blaxploitation version of "The Asphalt Jungle" sounds like a really lame idea but the movie works out much better than you at first would expect.

The 1950 John Huston movie "The Asphalt Jungle" was to me an unexpected brilliant movie. It's one of the best crime/film-noir's I've ever seen. I therefor also didn't expected much from this blaxploitation version of the same movie but I have to admit that the movie simply turned out to be a great one.

Main reason why this movie works out so well is of course its story. No matter how you turn and change things around, the story, based on the W.R. Burnett novel remains a great and well layered one, with good characters in it. It's one of those movies that is not particularly well directed or acted out but lets its story allow the movie to be a great one.

Also the atmosphere of the movie was good. It was of course not a film-noir type of typical atmosphere but '70's blaxploitation also always have a typical and good 'hip cat' atmosphere of their own, which I always enjoy, no matter how bad the movie. It also makes sure that you'll take the movie too seriously. You also really shouldn't take this movie too seriously and you should take the movie with a grain of salt. I was actually surprised by the amount of comical relief within this movie, mainly because the original story is such an original and heavy one but it of course certainly makes this movie an enjoyable movie to watch and it definitely works out well for the movie as a whole.

Really, you should give this movie a chance.

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Blaxploitation retelling of Asphalt Jungle
aodugo28 March 2005
If you plan on watching this movie for the storyline, don't. Watch Asphalt Jungle instead. If you want to watch this movie because it's an excellent blaxploitation flick, PLEASE DO! It's a little long-winded, and starts to drag out at the end, so keep some munchies handy. (I also think that it tries to recreate Jungle with some veracity, which lends a bit of awkwardness at times.) However, keep eyes and ears open to the real exploitation going on in the film -- the white community that just does not "get it", the subtle jokes between the main characters concerning that fact, and the definite black pride (the pride not to be white) that the movie puts forth (although all of it from a paternalistic point of view, sadly.) Also, this was one of Pam Grier's breakout roles, so if you're a fan and expect to see a lot of her, you'll be disappointed, but Thalmus Rasulala more than makes up for it: he's the face you know but never can quite place, and is exactly the commanding presence and to-the-point bad boy that this movie needs. I left feeling like I needed to walk around with a wah-wah pedal playing my own little theme song for the rest of the day. (NOTE: I was able to see this film at a Library of Congress screening; it is my understanding that not many prints are available, and the film I saw actually broke half-way through but the technician was able to repair it. Good luck to you in getting the opportunity to see this one if you can.)
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"Who do you think you are, Sidney Poitier?!"
morrison-dylan-fan10 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Getting passed an excellent issue of a magazine called Cinema Retro from a family friend,I noticed a huge story about the films of Pam Grier.Talking to a family friend about the mag,he mentioned to me that he had recently discovered that Grier had appeared in a Blaxploitation remake of The Asphalt Jungle,which led to me getting ready to catch some breeze.

The plot:

Released from jail, master criminal Sidney Lord Jones (what a "street" name!) heads to LA. During his time in jail,Jones read magazines about diamonds ,which gave him the idea of planning a diamond heist,so that Jones can set up a "black bank",which will give affordable loans to African Americans.

Meeting underground bookie Finian and his major "financer" Bill Mercer,Jones reveals that he needs $50,000 in order to hire the best team for the heist.Keeping the fact that he is almost broke hidden from view,Mercer agrees to fund the robbery,whilst making secret plans to keep the diamonds all for himself.As Jones and the rest of the team start robbing the diamonds,they discover that Mercer has ruthless plans of his own.

View on the film:

Before I get to the movie,I have to mention that Warner Archives have given the title a very good transfer,with the audio being clear and easy to hear,whilst the picture is clean,but still retaining the gritty flavour of the film.

Keeping Solomon Burke's smooth jangly Funk score humming in the background,writer/director Barry Pollack gives the title an extraordinary rustic atmosphere,with Pollack following each gang member with hand-held whip-pans that give the film an almost documentary appearance.Along with the shot gun whip-pans,Pollack also slices Neo-Noir tension through a Blaxploitation filter,by covering the movie in ultra-stylised,low-lit primary colours,which heat up as tension starts to build between the gang.

Whilst the guys dominate the movie,the very sexy Pam Grier (who also appears naked) stands out in her small role as Mona,with Grier clear unease being the first shot of doubt to hit any of the gang members.Entering the film dancing out of jail, Thalmus Rasulala gives an excellent performance as Sidney Lord Jones,who Rasulala wraps up in silky-smooth Blaxploitation charm,which becomes brittle,as the fall out from the robbery leads to Rasulala transforming Jones into a Film Noir loner. Joining Rasulala, Julian Christopher gives a wonderful performance as Travis Battle,who Christopher gives a hard thug edge which never fits in with the socially savvy skills of Jones & Mercer.

Bringing The Asphalt Jungle into "the hood",the screenplay by Barry Pollack surprisingly does not pay much attention to the rehearsals of the robbery,with Pollack moving from the formation of the team straight to the robbery.Whilst sadly missing out on building anticipation for the robbery,Pollack makes up for it by making the robbery a thrilling set-piece,which sets each of the gang up for a Neo-Noir final note.Making sure that the title does not solely hang on the robbery,Pollack gives each of the gang members distinctive introductions,with Jones movie star sheen rubbing against Travis battered & bruised street fighter,as they both enter the deadly Blaxploitation Asphalt Jungle.
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A Fairly Good "Blaxploitation Film"
Uriah434 September 2017
Upon being released from San Quentin the first thing "Sidney Lord Jones" (Thalmus Rasululu) does is to head to Los Angeles with a plan that involves stealing $3 million in diamonds from a large brokerage there in the city. To do this he borrows $50,000 from a crime boss named "Bill Mercer" (Raymond St. Jacques) in order to hire three men to assist him with the heist. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned as one of the men is shot during the burglary and another is also shot when Mercer tries to double-cross Sidney and his crew. And then things go downhill from there. Now rather than reveal any more I will just say that this was a fairly good "Blaxploitation film" which had an interesting plot (even if it was apparently borrowed from "The Asphalt Jungle" some 22 years earlier) and some decent acting as well. Likewise, having an attractive actress like Judy Pace (as Sidney's girlfriend "Obalese Eaton") certainly didn't hurt either. In any case, those who enjoy films of this nature may want to check this one out and I have rated it accordingly. Slightly above average.
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Cool blaxploitation variant on The Asphalt Jungle
Woodyanders28 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Shrewd criminal mastermind Sidley Lord James (smoothly played with charisma to burn by Thalmus Rasulala) gets paroled from prison. James concocts a bold scheme to steal three million worth of jewelry, but things go awry when human error encounters into the deal. Writer/director Barry Pollack relates the complex and compelling story at a quick pace, offers a flavorsome evocation of the gritty urban environment, brings an engaging hip sensibility to the already sound premise, and presents a neat rogues' gallery of colorful lowlife characters. The fine acting from the bang-up cast keeps this movie humming: Judy Pace as the sweet Obalese Eaton, Jim Watkins as bitter and down on his luck Vietnam veteran Travis Battle, Lincoln Kilpatrick as hard-nosed corrupt cop Lt. Brian Knowles, Sam Laws as jolly bookie Finian, Raymond St. Jacques as the slippery Bill Mercer, Stack Pierce as Mercer's shady partner Tinker, and Margaret Avery as the ditsy Lark. Pam Grier has a regrettably small part as a prostitute, but does at least bare her beautifully bountiful breasts. The amusing sense of cheeky humor and generous sprinkling of tasty female nudity rate as additional pluses. The heist is quite gripping and exciting. Kudos are also in order for Solomon Burke's funky chilling score and the polished cinematography by Andrew Davis. A nifty flick.
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Boring drama
Wizard-829 June 2014
The idea behind this movie - remaking "The Asphalt Jungle" with a mostly black cast - did have some promise. But the end results fail in just about every way you can think of. The movie is directed in a way that has some real grit and atmosphere - you can feel the run down atmosphere of 1970s Los Angeles. And things are wrapped up in the end in a cynical way that you could only get in 1970s cinema. But the screenplay is a mess. It takes FOREVER for the movie to really start going. When the robbery is executed, it comes as a surprise, since we previous saw almost no preparation for it. And after the robbery, the movie slows down once again, unfolding so slowly that I think even the black audience this was aimed at was sorely bored. It doesn't help that there is not one sympathetic character in the entire movie. This is one breeze that has the scent of a real stinker.
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