Thursday, April 21, 2016

Posse (1993)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Writers: Sy Richardson, Dario Scardapane

Composer: Michel Colombier

Starring: Mario Van Peebles, Stephen Baldwin, Charles Lane, Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, Big Daddy Kane, Billy Zane, Blair Underwood, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Tone Loc, Pam Grier, Vesta Williams, Isaac Hayes, Richard Jordan, Paul Bartel, Stephen J. Cannell, Nipsey Russell, Woody Strode, Aaron Neville

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Untold Story of the Wild West

Plot: A group of mostly black infantrymen return from the Spanish-American War with a cache of gold. They travel to the West where their leader searches for the men who lynched his father.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again?  No.

What a letdown this was.  When I watch a Western, I'm just looking to be entertained.  If it's a message film, that's fine, too, but don't bore me.  Please.  That's all I ask.  This looked like it was going to be a fun picture about black cowboys rightin' wrongs, killin' folks and whoopin' it up in the Old West.  It can't be an easy task to make a big, outdoor period piece like this.  I can appreciate the tremendous amount of work that goes into a production of this sort.  But the movie felt like one big vanity piece for Peebles.  In front of the camera he stands out as the one main guy who's missing a few ounces of charisma.  He acts like he's a tough guy that's too cool for school.  To contrast that there's an entire cast of colorful characters surrounding him that make him come across as even more isolated and more like a guy with his head too far up his own ass.  The supporting cast is fun and there are an awful lot of great faces in the bunch.  When's the last time you saw Nipsey Russell in a movie?  Exactly.  Love that guy.  Behind the camera, Peebles often gets flashy and it feels like an actor directing and doing too much instead of striving to make a solid picture.  I've seen that done before and the movies suffer all around for it.  It's a shame, really, because there was the potential to produce a fun piece of action cinema.  There are too many little annoyances that keep this from being good enough recommend.  Just before the credits roll there are a couple of title cards that tell us about the difficulties of blacks back then which is weird.  It's like it was tacked on at the last moment as if to give more weight and importance to the silly movie we just saw.  Odd.  The MGM DVD presents the film with a non-anamorphic widescreen print and a fullscreen theatrical trailer as the sole extra.  It's a poor presentation for a film that should've been better than what we got.

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