When it comes to Blaxploitation films you have to think of the names like Fred Williams, Jim Brown or Rudy Ray Moore. But there is one name that is synonymous with this genre and that is the most bad ass bitch to grace the movie screen in the 70's and that's Pam Grier.
Just look at the list of movies that she's tied. Foxy Brown, Friday Foster, Coffy and The Big Doll House are just a few of her selected films from the blaxploitation genre. Now this film which was reviewed came to us via Arrow Video, in who the past few months have released or announced future releases of Pam Grier films. This was our first taste of their work on one of her films.
When the loan business of her father, Andy (Rudy Challenger), is trashed by thugs looking to force a sale, Chicago private investigator Sheba Shayne (Pam Grier) travels back to her hometown of Louisville, Ky., to even the score.
Now with most exploitation films you're either dealing with a rape revenge or a vengeance storyline in them. Sheba, Baby falls into the category of revenge flicks. Her coming back to her hometown because her father has fallen into a problematic situation with the local mob because he refuses to sell his business to them. As the time goes on in the movie you learn that the mob is now trying to kill her father in hopes to just be able to buy out his business or take it over. But its Sheba who prevents it mostly until they kill her father and she seeks revenge on them. It all leads up to the most lamest cat fight on a yacht and then the cheesiest deaths during the final chase scene that ends the entire film.
Arrow Video's presentation of this film on Blu-ray is in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The film's footage that was filmed during daylight now show great detail and the clarity of the picture is beautiful. Capturing the bright colors and styles of the 70's making the viewer remember the times or letting them have a laugh at what the 70's looked like during that era. The picture itself is decent there are no signs that the film master it was taken from was degrained over time and some grain can be seen but its nothing to make you get all mad about. There are some problematic things with the transfer but its not something to worry about, it could've been a better transfer that offers some better upgrades in terms of what came before this version.
Now for me this film isn't the best of Pam Grier's career. Sometimes when you see her films you are waiting for her to either get naked or kick someone's ass. I felt that this film in general was rather weak as we never got to see her naked, I know I was being a pig like the rest of the gang was when we watched it. But you can't help but think to yourself come on Pam get naked....Anyway back to the subject at matter. The fight sequences of the film are rather laughable because you can see that back then nothing looked real unless you were shot..Then again that didn't look too believable as well. I mean you have to play dead so that means you stop breathing for like 2 minutes when the camera is filming and somebody just keeps breathing and he's dead? Come on. Plus to think that some of the characters in the film are just completely dumb to fall for some dumb ass stuff made me shake my head. I loved the fact that the film had a hype man in it, being the echo for one of the underlings in the film was great. And the main bad guy of the film who looked more like Alan Thicke than anyone else on the face of this planet had me dying.
So all in all this film to me isn't a classic or a lost gem. It's a film that just falls into the blaxploitation genre as a film that if you see it then you'll probably watch it. I probably will never rewatch this film because to me it seemed dull and lacked a storyline. It seemed like it was thrown together and just thrown out there to capitalize on Pam Grier's recent successes. If you're a fan of hers then this is a movie you may want to see but if you're a new fan whose trying to watch what she did then maybe you should skip this film and go onto another of her's.
reviewed by Bucky