xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
The very least you can say for "Darktown Strutters" is that it's the first black motorcycle gang rock scifi musical, which would seem to be saying a lot. But the movie bites off about two more genres than it can chew, and never quite works as anything. That's not to say it doesn't try: We get a bewildering mixture of characters, plots, actions, songs, dances and even a guest appearance by the Dramatics, who sing "What You See is What You Get" after they're rescued from the subterranean dungeons of a white chicken 'n' ribs tycoon.
The tycoon, who sports a white moustache and beard curiously reminiscent of the young Col. Sanders (assuming he was ever young), fronts as a benefactor of the black community. But inside his Southern plantation he has other plans afoot. He's invented a mysterious machine that will turn out exact replicas of black leaders, who can then be programmed to follow the evil tycoon's nefarious schemes and eat lots of his ribs 'n' chicken.
The plot is foiled by an allgirl motorcycle gang, led by Trina Parks. The gang hangs out at the tycoon's friendly local franchise, eating ribs and tangling with rival bike gangs while the looney chef slaps the barbecue sauce around with a broom. There are lots of production numbers, during which the girls and their rivals do the bump and dare each other to race around the police station, which is in the hands of four officers based directly on the Keystone Kops.
So far this all sounds like a scenario from the pages of the National Lampoon and if only it were. But the director, William Witney, has no strategy for presenting his bewildering maze of material. He throws everything at us, including gags that haven't gotten laughs for years. (How long has it been since the last time you saw somebody flying through the air while the sound track let loose with a slide whistle?)
Chaz Ebert highlights films with the potential to get us through the confusing political times of the Trump presidenc...
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
One of the most audacious American films from the 1960s is now available via the Criterion Collection.
A review of Netflix's new series, Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which premieres January 13.