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Askew Review 15

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(Shock-o-Rama) 1976. Crime Drama/blaxploitation.  Approx 90 minutes. Rated R. Violence, brief nudity. Kicks Carter (Timothy Brown) and his partner Tony are two badass cops hot on the trail of a crime boss, Guido, dealing in guns and drugs. All is going seemingly well until Guido’s top man, Ziggy, kills Tony, throwing Tony’s girlfriend (I forget her name) into a fit of depression. Pushed over the edge by her depression, Tony’s chick resumes her gambling addiction and gets herself into all sorts of trouble. Meanwhile, Kicks uses his ghetto contacts to track down Guido so he can kick his arse.
Although titled “Black Heat” and listing Kicks Carter as the main character, Kicks doesn’t really do much in this movie besides a few fistfights, talking, and one sex scene. If I didn’t know the title of this movie, I would have guessed the two main characters as Ziggy and Tony’s woman because they are way more “developed” than Kicks. I was honestly confused as to what was going on, until I listened to the audio commentary by producer Sam Sherman. Black Heat actually has three titles and was shot to incorporate those titles; Black Heat, Girl’s Hotel, and The Murder Gang. Therefore, the plot line does jump around an awful lot. Monster movie fans will certainly recognize Russ Tamblyn, Ziggy, as the American scientist in War of the Gargantuas. The movie itself is your typical, in a most entertaining way, Al Adamson/Sam Sherman stuff, i.e. lots ‘xploitaion going on. Judging by the deleted scenes and outtakes, I really wish Sam and Al stuck with the “Girl’s Hotel” plot. That being written, I often found myself amused and laughing at Black Heat. Whether or not this was the hoped intention, I do not know, but damn I had fun. As always, Sam Sherman’s commentary is great. – Denis Sheehan



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