Wednesday, March 19, 2014

THE BLACK 6 (1973)

THE BLACK 6 (1973) (R) Dir. Matt Cimber
94 mins.

After a white girl's brother discovers that her boyfriend is black, he and his biker cronies beat the man to death with chain links. Later, the victim's estranged older brother Bubba, leader of the Vietnam vet biker gang the Black 6, receives the news. He makes his way home with his gang in tow to reconcile with his family and find out what happened to his little brother, Eddie.
Since the murder occurred on the local high school's football field, Bubba first questions the coach. The coach is little help, so Bubba petitions the police to no avail, but he does learn that the murderers were bikers. What does he do next? He goes bar-hopping, of course.
Bubba meets up with an old drunkard at the bar #1, who tells him that his high school sweetheart Lucille might have some answers. Bubba leaves to find her. He finds and threatens her pimp, Copperhead, in bar #2. Copperhead spills her whereabouts and off goes our hero. Bubba finds Lucille and she informs him that Eddie's girlfriend was named Jenny King. He drops Lucille off with his mother and heads for Jenny's workplace: bar #3.
This has got to be the breeziest investigation ever, as at the bar the gang responsible for Eddie's death are all there. It's quickly revealed to Bubba that Jenny's brother and his friends are the killers (they practically brag). The rest of the Black 6 arrive to back Bubba up against the gang, but before they can scrap, the police enter and break up the ruckus.
Later, the white gang meets up with another biker gang run by a strange fellow called Thor. The two gangs form an alliance to bring down the Black 6. They send two envoy riders to invite the 6 to meet up and talk things out, in what is clearly a trap. Yet the 6 bite, and they head off on their bikes much to the dismay of Bubba's mother and sister.
What follows is one of the most frustrating endings I've seen in a while. The lighting is so terrible, I found myself gazing at the screen in wonder for roughly ten seconds before I realized that I was looking at the front of a motorcycle. Shitty lighting, shitty fight choreography, and the sudden piss poor editing make the whole climax pretty incomprehensible. After killing many dozens of his fellow racist bikers, a desperate gang member rides his bike, with a flare in its gas tank, at the Black 6.  The motorcycle explodes in (what I assume is) midair, and the movie's over. It's so sudden, so abrupt and it really squanders all of the momentum built up during the first eighty minutes. A shame.
The actors portraying the 6 were all NFL stars of the day (their teams are listed in the opening credits), so understandably their acting is a bit wooden at best. Gene Washington is clearly the most charismatic of the bunch and he basically carries most of the film. The supporting cast is great though, and the actors portraying Lucille, Bubba's mother, the Coach, and Jenny all stand out for their strong performances.
The Black 6 dwells in the realm of comedy for its first third and but gets a bit darker as the film progresses. The transition is not handled well and all of the plot's setups do not pay off. Unfortunately, what could have been a great murder/revenge film is marred by bad pacing, a lack of any mystery surrounding the killers, slapstick segments (mostly early on), and most of all, a muddled and unfinished climax. Yet is has so much potential. If any cult classic should be remade, it's this one. 4/10

No comments:

Post a Comment