Hastily-made round two in the story of gangster Tommy Gibbs.
31 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Audiences who saw Williamson's character get beaten to death at the end of "Black Caesar" (an ending Larry Cohen later snipped out after enduring protest from some viewers) may have been confused to see this sequel turn up the same year in which he's alive, if not exactly well. Or perhaps Williamson was so popular in the part that they forgave the inconsistency or maybe even forgot that he'd died and just settled in for a blaxploitation ride. In any case, here he is, suffering from a gun wound and calling his heretofore-estranged father Harris for help. Harris, who was a cosmetics sales rep (!) in the first film suddenly has no qualms about becoming every bit the gangster that Williamson is and they adopt a father-son approach to their organization. They also, for some reason, take the kids of Williamson's old flame Hendry with her now-dead husband and claim them as their own flesh and blood! However, when underling King decides he wants to move up the ladder and frames Harris for a killing that Williamson doesn't approve of, it creates a rift that causes Williamson to depart the business with his new love Avery and move to California. When King and Harris square off and Harris comes out on the losing end, followed by Williamson enduring an in-home invasion, he departs for New York City once again, going on the rampage that is the title occasion. Williamson, who was already contracted to work on another film, did this movie on weekends while a body double played him in the long shots and, considering that, he turns in a reasonably good performance. Harris, in an elevated role from the prior film, is good as well despite the significant change in the characterization. Hendry gets treated pretty shabbily here, but does a nice enough job with her abbreviated role. Avery gives a soft-spoken, generally appealing performance, though it is rather thankless. This is a far less cohesive and polished (if that's even the right word!) film than it's predecessor, but it's an action-filled and fairly captivating one. Again, the gritty location filming and the tough attitude of the film, along with some amusing 70's costumes, enhance the experience. For whatever reason, the "N" word is tossed around far less this time around than before. Williamson, who had a darkly lit and unrevealing love scene in "Black Caesar" here has a rear nude scene while making love to Avery. This same year, he did a Playgirl layout that showed glimpses of his nude body, understandably toned from a life of athletics.
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