Some of you might recall when I participated in Blair Week, a collaboration with several other fine film sites to celebrate the works of Linda Blair. Well the time is here again only now the spotlight is on the brilliant and criminally underrated Yaphet Kotto. Known to most people as either Parker from Alien, one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's opponents in The Running Man or Dr. Kananga/Mr. Big from the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die, Mr. Kotto has an extensive filmography that spans over 40 years. From Larry Cohen's controversial directorial debut Bone to the gritty police drama Across 110th Street to the dramedy Blue Collar with Harvey Keitel and Richard Pryor, Yaphet Kotto has done it all (he even did a film with Larry the Cable Guy...but we'll leave that one out). Kotto was also in several classic blaxploitation films including Friday Foster, Truck Turner and ....
Monkey Hu$tle stars Yaphet Kotto as Daddy Foxx, the slyest, hippest and wisest "flim flam" scam artist around. A young drummer Win (Randy Brooks) comes back to his hometown, out of work and pissed off that his little brother is working for Daddy Foxx. Two of Win's friends, Player (Thomas Carter) and Tiny (Donn Harper), convince Win to work for Daddy Foxx too and he reluctantly agrees out of desperation. The rest of the film mainly follows the scams Foxx's team pulls and the other teenage hijinx the kids get themselves into. The last 10 minutes of the film expose an actual plot not prevalent in the rest of the film.
Based on that last sentence I'm sure you are a little confused. Looking back at the film, there really wasn't much of a plot to Monkey Hu$tle until the very end. To be honest, it didn't matter for me because the film was enjoyable enough without a plot. Fine performances, likable characters, humor and some action make this film a winning blaxploitation story with heart. Of course Yaphet Kotto is the main character and basically carries the film with his abundance of charisma. Rudy Ray Moore (Dolemite) also stars as a big time hustler (and/or pimp - it doesn't really say what he is). The young cast are all great and the scenes involving the bumbling cop and one of the character's ass-kicking girlfriend are hilarious.
Below are links to all of the fine sites participating in the Yaphet Kotto celebration:
MONDAY Nov. 15thUnflinching Eye - Alien
Raculfright 13's Blogo Trasho - Truck Turner
TUESDAY Nov. 16th
Lost Video Archive - Raid on Entebbe
Manchester Morgue - Friday Foster (soundtrack)
WEDNESDAY Nov. 17th
Booksteve's Library - Live and Let Die
Horror Section - Warning Sign
THURSDAY Nov. 18th
Mondo 70 - Drum
B Movies and Beyond - The Monkey Hu$tle
Illogical Contraption - Eye of the Tiger
FRIDAY Nov. 19th
Ninja Dixon - Across 110th St.
Lines That Make Things - The A Team (TV episode)
Things That Don't Suck - Blue Collar
SATURDAY Nov. 20th
Breakfast In the Ruins - Bone
Lost Video Archive - The Park Is Mine