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EW reviews the latest blaxploitation flicks released on DVD

Pimps, con men, polyester, purple Caddies -? welcome to blaxploitation cinema.

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EW reviews the latest blaxploitation flicks released on DVD

Pimpin’ ain’t easy. Just ask Gordon from Sesame Street. Before actor Roscoe Orman helped Elmo teach kids their ABC’s, he strutted around in some of the most incredible fur-and-polyester getups ever (think George Clinton meets Nanook of the North), belting out lines like ”The bitches I run are selected to win!” That’s in Willie Dynamite, one in a slew of blaxploitation flicks now out on DVD. While Dynamite tells the tale of a pimp in peril, the film is most noteworthy for its stellar soundtrack (especially the funky, hilarious ”Willie D.”), cast of characters (gotta love a white pimp named ”Milky Way”), and sweet wheels (yes, that’s a purple Cadillac with leopard-skin upholstery).

Trick Baby, a salt-and-pepper version of The Sting with its white and black con team, is also a cautionary tale, yet with a plotline as entertaining as the eye candy. Mel Stewart and Kiel Martin make a great team, as illustrated by Stewart’s assertion, ”His white skin gives us a slick edge. I catch the black marks. He catches the honkies.” That he does.

Another guy taking it to the honkies is Fred ”the Hammer” Williamson. He throws fireworks at people and hits a guy in the family jewels with a briefcase as a wannabe James Bond in the super-convoluted That Man Bolt. But wait, the Hammer isn’t done! In One Down Two to Go — out in a double set with Brotherhood of Death, a mess of a movie that for some reason is filled with members of the Washington Redskins — he provides a commentary track. Why? ”I gotta be someplace; might as well be somewhere talkin’ about me,” he explains. The ridiculous revenge flick is completely forgettable, save Williamson telling a bad guy: ”You may be good in kung fu, but I’m an expert in gun fu.” Sit through all these films and you’ll be an expert too.

Willie: B+
Trick: B
Bolt: C
One Down/Brotherhood: D+