Serious side-burns is back!
22 April 2019
After the success of Black Caesar earlier in the year, this sequel was rushed into production to hopefully cash in on the clamour for Blaxploitation shenanigans. Sadly it's a rush job that is all too evidently half baked.

Plot has Fred Wiliamson return as Tommy Gibbs (resurrected from the dead apparently!), who takes on corrupt D.A. Diangelo (Gerald Gordon) whilst dealing with matters of the heart. Directed by Larry Cohen, it's with Cohen's frank honest views on the film that critique should start. He would say that Hell Up In Harlem is a 90 minutes montage movie, and he is absolutely right.

This is jerkily episodic as it runs a course of people talking then cutting to boisterous action, then some talking and cut again to some more boisterous action, and on it goes for the complete run time. That the action is so gripping - and some choice dialogue zingers in the mix as well - keeps this from being an unwatchable mess. You also have to have respect for this type of guerrilla film making, it literally is filmed on the fly.

Regardless of the unbelievable aspects of it all, the oodles of bright red fake blood, and poorly executed stunt work, the rawness of the violence keeps things above average. In fact there's a bit of bad taste simmering away in the violent dynamics, with no legal consequences of lead character's actions, which of course is a blaxploitation trait.

It's messy, but it's entertaining mess within the genre it sits in. 6/10
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