Friday, May 28, 2010

Black Samson - 2.5/5

Another title this film could go by is Black Pusser. Why that odd yet interesting nasty name? Well because Black Samson is nothing more than a blaxploitation version of Walking Tall with the character Black Samson filling in for Joe Don Baker's Buford Pusser. Despite being completely unoriginal, this "rip-off" didn't come out half bad.

Here we have Rockne Tarkington as our title character. Black Samson is a night club owner (who owns a lion no less!) with a set of morals. He does is best to keep his neighborhood free of drugs and crime. Samson gets his work cut out for him with a muscle bound mob member named Napa tries to muscle in on his turf. Along the way he finds love. Not much to the plot but sometimes we need films like this. Sometimes no-brain films with some good heroes, good villains, and simple plot is just what the doctor ordered and I must have been in the mood for this tasty medicine.

The character Black Samson is actually rather atypical for the blaxploitation genre. Most of the heroes were either over-the-top (any Fred Williamson character) or super hands-off cool (Richard Roundtree's Shaft). Samson just seems like an average good guy with a good head on his shoulders and a nice set of ethics. Perhaps this is why the film wasn't as popular with audiences as the character just wasn't eccentric or cool enough. Rockne Tarkington plays the character well but sadly his career never really seemed to take off. To be honest I can only think of a small role he had in The Ice Pirates off the top of my head. The character of Samson however gets overshadows by the villain played by genre great William Smith. Not the pop rap/actor Will Smith, this is the body builder William Smith and this guy could eat Will Smith for breakfast. This guy is so fucking tough that he played Conan's father in Conan the Barbarian. That's how badass he is as Conan himself came from his loins! Some blaxploitation films William Smith played the villain in underused his psychotic talent. Not in Black Samson. This guy is completely nuts! At one point he tries to drown his girlfriend. When he sends his girlfriend undercover into the night club and she falls for Black Samson, he even has the balls to throw her out of a moving car! Nothing makes for a entertaining movie more than having a great villain and this film succeeds on that level.

Director Charles Bail (Super Fly) does an adequate job with the film but I wish he injected more style into his camera work. The film just has too much of a point-shoot look for my taste. Other than that the film has an interesting atypical hero, a major badass villain, and a familiar easy to follow plot. When you're not in the thinking mood, pop in Black Samson, turn your brain off and have a relaxing good time.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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