Let me say for the record that I am a huge fan of Fred Williamson. I love him in films like Black Caesar, Vigilante, Three the Hard Way, Black Eye. But there's another type of Fred Williamson movie out there, and some of you know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about those films that he's directed. And while there will always be a place in my heart for even the worst films Fred has been in – specifically, films like Hell Up in Harlem – those that he's directed are a special kind of crap.
Back in the 1970s Williamson started his production company, Po Boy Productions, and began churning out some exceptionally bad B-movie garbage, including Death Journey, No Way Back, and Mean Johnny Barrows. The 1980s saw Po Boy still spewing out one terrible film after another, including this schlock from 1983.
The Big Score stars Williamson as Frank Hooks, a hardboiled Chicago cop who will stop at nothing to rid the street of scumbag drug dealers. Along with his partners Gordon and Davis (Richard Roundtree and John Saxon, both slumming it in the worst way), Hooks goes after a big time drug dealer. After the bust goes down, all the bad guys are dead, and one million dollars in cash is missing. Hooks is accused of stealing the money (which, by the way, was hidden in the trunk of an abandoned car), and is suspended from the force. Not only must he clear his name, but he's gonna have to slug it out with the mobsters who want their money back, not to mention revenge, and who've killed his girlfriend's cat. Enlisting the aid of a weapons dealer (D'urville Martin in one of the film's only redeeming moments), Hooks unleashes a jumbo sized can of kick ass on the bad guys, sending them on a bullet-riddled trip to hell.
Describing how monumentally bad Fred Williamson's Po Boy films are is a difficult task. The average run time of these films is about 80 minutes, and there is never, and I mean NEVER more than ten good minutes in any one of these clunkers. The Big Score, as it turns out, is one of the better films to be directed by Williamson, which is saying absolutely nothing, as this is the sort of crap that the fast forward button was invented for. There is nothing good about this film, except for the handful of action sequences, and even those are bad. The acting is terrible and the direction is flat and lifeless.
Rumor has it that The Big Score was originally supposed to be a Dirty Harry film. It's hard to believe that anything as bad as Gail Morgan Hickman's script would be considered for anything other than lining the bottom of a kitty litter box. In fact, the script is so bad, at some point, Richard Roundtree just disappears, only to be replaced by actor Stack Pierce. One can only assume Roundtree had enough of this bad film, and just walked away from filming – that or somewhere along the way everyone just forgot his character was in the film.
The Big Score is presented in 4:3 full frame. The transfer appears to be made from a print that was buried in someone's back yard, and dug up by a dog. The print has scratches ever few seconds, there is no consistency in color, and overall, it looks just plain bad.
The audio presentation for The Big Score makes the video look top notch. Imagine listening to a movie underwater. The Big Score sounds worst than that.
Wow! You actually get a photo gallery. What more could you ask for?
Nancy Reagan had it right when she said, "Just say no."
David Walker is the creator of BadAzz MoFo, a nationally published film critic, and the Writer/Director of Black Santa's Revenge with Ken Foree now on DVD [Buy it now]