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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Bucktown
Bucktown
MGM // R // October 16, 2001
List Price: $14.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Gil Jawetz | posted November 8, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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THE STRAIGHT DOPE:
For the most part, the best 70's Blaxploitation movies are the ones starring the ladies: Cleopatra Jones, Coffy, Friday Foster. With the exception of the top male blaxploitation stars (Richard Roundtree, Ron O'Neal), most of the fellas never really had much on-screen juice. Bucktown's Fred Williamson spends most of the film's 94 minutes laughing at everyone else. His less than electric performance doesn't help rescue a generally lackluster film from the middle of the pack.

The story finds Duke Johnson (Williamson) visiting Bucktown to bury his brother. While trying to collect his brother's estate he teams up with local tough guys (including Hambone, played by a young Carl Weathers) to stamp out the racist white police force. Once their goal has been accomplished lots of the other guys become just as corrupt, violent as the honkies they dethroned. Once again Duke has to kick some ass to keep everyone in line, this time armed with a tank. The story is simple and to the point. Pam Grier, playing Duke's honey, even points out that it don't matter if you're black or white, money and power can turn you bad.

This is a pretty standard plot for the genre and there are some righteous beatdowns, but overall the film just doesn't feel like it has its heart in it. Grier is her usual self (not great acting, but perfect nonetheless) and Williamson is ok. His fighting is so slow and labored that it's amazing no one can get a punch in. The best performance comes from Bernie Hamilton as the overweight Harley, sort of the Pillsbury doughboy crossed with the Ol Dirty Bastard. There's nothing really wrong with Bucktown, it just doesn't stand out.

VIDEO:
The widescreen anamorphic video looks very nice. Colors are vibrant, damage and dirt are pretty minimal, all things considered.

AUDIO:
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio is pretty weak. The mix seems ok but the recording techniques are so amateurish that many scenes sound like they were recorded in a barn. French and Spanish subtitles are included (but not English).

EXTRAS:
The typically robust trailer is the only extra.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Blaxploitation fans should definitely check out Bucktown. It has most of the ingredients for a good time, although it isn't executed in a way that really makes it special.

E-mail Gil at buskerdog@yahoo.com
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