The Big Score – 1983 / Director: Fred Williamson

Holy shit! A film starring Fred Williamson, Richard Roundtree AND John Saxon as drug bustin’ cops? This must be the greatest film ever made! Right? Well… This is great straight-to-video stuff maybe, but great it ain’t. The Hammer stars as a cop who fucks with the wrong drug pusher (Michael Dante) one time too many. When a drug bust goes wrong and a bag full o’ cash goes missing, Fred is on suspension and has to bust the whole case wide open on his own. Well, aided by Saxon and Roundtree. And D’Urville Martin.

This is fairly routine mid 80s Fred stuff. To be honest, it could have been done just as well in a 45 minute episode of Starsky and Hutch – only the cast make it worth watching really. There’s a shed load of shooting and violence, that’s for sure but the Dolemite reference doesn’t end with the presence of Martin: the old girl Fred appears to be fucking also runs a nightclub, so we get a good couple of run time-padding nightclub acts (all of which are beyond terrible) and unconvincing fisticuffs. Saxon is Saxon is Saxon – cynically great until he is (literally) blown in half. Roundtree suffers the indignity of disappearing without explanation half way through, so it’s Williamson‘s show all the way. Again, Williamson seems to be trying to keep the Blaxploitation boom going long after it fizzled out, but his torpid direction lacks the energy that the better examples of the genre had (which often made up for a LOT of shortcomings).

Poor musical interludes apart, Jay Chattaway‘s (big) score is great, but little else is worthwhile. I watched this on autopilot to be honest (I’m probably writing it like that, too), but if I wasn’t reviewing it, I probably would have turned off half way through. If I had, I’d be sorry – the final, dynamite-laden quarter hour shows what a great B-movie this could have been. You don’t watch a Fred Williamson film to see him moodily sat in a bar, you want to see him kickin’ ass and blowing shit up. Here, unfortunately, you get too much of one and not enough of the other.

Tags: Fred Williamson