Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Mack (1973, Michael Campus)

A key element to most Blaxploitation films are Pimps. Either Cops (usually White) vs. Pimps, Pimps vs. Pimps or a Black Man's ascension from poverty to pimpin'. The Mack is a mixture of all three, plus a good amount of sex and violence. This film was recommended to me a couple years ago and I just never got around to watching it until now. The one thing that I was told about the film that made it a must see was a Pimp convention, which I'll admit made me very curious.

Goldie (Max Julien) just got out of jail. He goes back to his old neighborhood with the dream of becoming the biggest pimp around. His brother, who has been working to make a change while Goldie was in the joint, disapproves of his brother's new venture. Goldie is determined to follow through with his plans and soon enough he becomes the top pimp around. Unfortunately, the current big pimp, Pretty Tony, thinks Goldie is getting to be too big and tries to stop him. Two racist cops also get in the mix and try to bring down "The Mack".

The Mack was a fine film with a good mix of drama, action and pimpin'. Max Julien does a great job as Goldie, with the toughness and coolness that the role demands. The rest of the cast do a great job and (as I was told) the "Playa's Convention" was awesome. The costumes, haircuts and attitudes brought the perfect amount of outrageousness to the film. Richard Pryor is also great as Goldie's right hand man.

RATING: 7/10


  1. So what you're saying is that a key element to most blaxploitation films is the sexual exploitation of women?

  2. I love this movie, I just find the glorification of pimpdom during the 70s so hilarious! That pimp convention has to be seen to be believed.

    Also, its funny how they make the pimp look like a good guy!

  3. if you ever get a chance check out the movie called The Black Six. awesome blacksploitation biker flick!

  4. @ The Goodkind - I would say that, yes, blaxploitation films DO have a strong tendency to exploit women. When the "good" guy does it, it tends to be smoother. He sweet talks, wines & dines, and treats her with a fair amount of respect... however, he still takes zero shit from her, and will be forceful when necessary, and might even play around behind her back here and there; this seems to be accepted as long as he comes back in the end. When the -bad guy- does it, he tends to be more vile and degrading with anti-female slurs and lots of name-calling and slapping for no good reason.

    Both characters tend to treat women as subordinates in the male-driven blaxploitation film. But it's a matter of degrees, with the nicer "hero" coming out ahead, although essentially his actual attitude toward "hoes" may be no more "enlightened" than the villain's. And then you've got your Foxy Brown women's variety of blaxploitation, wherein the chick has to use her sexuality as an advantage against the leering, psychotically sado-sexual predators that tend to make up her enemies' list (characters played by guys like Sid Haig, for example). Blaxploitation films are, by and large, a hostile environment for female characters, like it or not. It's not like these are very "politically correct" films to begin with anyway, right?

  5. Astro, I agree. One of the resons I have a tag for "racism" on my film reviews, but not one for "sexism" is that the latter is far more subtle and prolific. I would end up labeling every move "sexist".

    It's true, blaxploitation as a genre generally tends to be more overt about this. First,within any culture overwhelmingly dominated by one group, minority groups tend to express their limited power over those below them, hence black men dominate women in this case. Second, many of these movies were likely produced by whites and it subconsciously fed their expectations that blacks were less civil and confirmed their need to feel superior.

  6. I'm just saying that most Blaxploitation films have pimps in them. That's all I'm saying.