Saturday, January 10, 2009

One Down, Two to Go (1982, Fred Williamson)

Holy Ensemble Casts, Batman! Richard "Shaft" Roundtree, Jim "Slaughter" Brown, Jim "Black Belt Jones" Kelly and Fred "The Hammer" Williamson all in one movie. The stars must have aligned to make this happen. Does the film itself equal the sum of its parts?

One Down, Two to Go is the story of a Kung Fu teacher (Kelly) and a promoter (Roundtree) who find out that their Karate tournament is rigged by the mob. After Kelly's character is caught spying on the mob, he is shot and two of his cop friends (Brown and Williamson) are called in for help and to collect their money, since they were backers for the tournament. When they appear, all hell breaks loose and the mob (who all look like a bunch of plumbers with stained clothes and mustaches) start regretting their involvement.

Unfortunately, One Down, Two to Go is nowhere near as good as its cast. The film is slow and the most likable character (Kelly) is wounded through most of the film. Brown and Williamson are effective but the whole movie just feels like it focused more on its cast instead of its story, probably because it was conceived, produced and directed by Fred Williamson himself. Which is a shame because this cast is a blaxploitation lover's dream. The movie wasn't a complete disappointment, there was plenty of action and the fight scenes were great, but overall it's not that great.


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