DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

THE GUY FROM HARLEM (director: Rene Martinez Jr.; screenwriter: Gardenia Martinez; cinematographer: Ralph Remy Jr.; music: Dr. Cecil Graham; cast: Loye Wawkins (Al Connors), Cathy Davis (Wanda De Bauld), Vaughan Harris (David McLeod), Patricia Fulton (Mrs. Ashanti), Wanda Starr (Sue), Steve Gallon (Harry De Bauld), Laster Wilson (Larry De Bauld); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: R; Xenon Pictures; 1977)

"Poor production values fails to bring this cheapie delight down."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Rene Martinez Jr. ("Super Soul Brother"/"The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger") ineptly helms while Gardenia Martinez pens a bad screenplay. The blaxploitation flick follows along the lines of Shaft and Superfly, which were two enormous hits of the same period in the seventies. It tries to portray a super-cool black sleuth but settles for one who is merely a likable hoot.

Al Connors (Loye Wawkins) is a ladies man private detective from Harlem, who relocates to Miami, Florida, to get away from the many fly sleuths in his area. CIA operative David McLeod (Vaughan Harris), Al's close friend, asks him to guard the wife of a visiting African head of state, Mrs. Ashanti (Patricia Fulton), while hubby does business in town. As a ruse the two stay at a hotel, pretending to be husband and wife. But the bad guys after her are onto this and use a masseuse and a room service attendant in drag to try and snatch her. But Al takes care of the heavies with some martial arts moves and rushes the princess off to safety in a safe haven apartment of one of his lady friends.

Meanwhile the same white gangster leader, Big Daddy (Scott Lawrence), has kidnapped the daughter named Wanda (Cathy Davis) of the drug lord Harry De Bauld (Steve Gallon). He hires our Guy from Harlem to retrieve her.

Al uses his street smarts to also rescue the kidnapped damsel of the gangster, but must fight off Big Daddy to run away with Wanda for what seems like romantic bliss.

Poor production values fails to bring this cheapie delight down. The tongue-in-cheek comedy is enlarged by the inept performances. It's just as easy to like it as it is to dismiss it as the trash it is. I chose the former, as I have a soft spot for its charms.
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REVIEWED ON 7/12/2016       GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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