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GeoReview: Baadasssss!
By Clayton Ruley

Melvin Van Peebles is one of the forefathers of Black Cinema. His movie: Sweet Sweetback's Baadassss Song was the first black directed feature to appear in regular theatres.   The neo-blaxploitation was edgy because of various scenes and statements in the movie. The movie came at police officers neck for their action something rare for the turbulent 1970's and also featured sexual acts and other once deemed improper actions.   This movie is a documentary of the original film with Melvin's son Mario (Posse)directing the movie with a lot of the same mannerisms father did. One example is the diversity of the cast mirrors the diversity shown in the 1970's making the people have a vested interest in the films success.


The movie shows Melvin's struggles dealing Hollywood executives, creditors and financial backers. He also struggles to be a good father especially with Mario, a young kid interested in almost everything his pops does.   Melvin risked his eyesight and had to mortgage everything he had to get the movie done and you see it in this film. The cast is diverse with people like Paul Rodriguez, Joy Bryant, David Alan Grier, Nia Long, the late great Ossie Davis, Saul Rubinek, Khleo Thomas, Rainn Thomas and Van Peebles star in the film. This movie doesn't sugar coat the truths Melvin went through as a young black director trying to get an opportunity.


The DVD features commentary with Mario and Melvin Van Peebles, a featurette titled "The Birth of Black Cinema", a featurette titled "The Premiere", an "American Cinematheque Q&A with Melvin Van Peebles", poster explorations and preview.


This movie is good for any occasion mixing truth with comedy and drama, as is life. I'll give the movie 4.5 globes.


Suggestions, comments, questions feel free to drop me a line at One!


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