Hell Up in Harlem (1973) Poster

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You never know whose doing up your socks and underwear.
lastliberal24 July 2010
70s action and a blaxploitation classic with Fred Williamson (The Inglorious Bastards - 1978, MASH) as Black Caesar leading the way backed up by the luscious Gloria Hendry.

Lots of shoot-em-up action as the black gangsters take on the Mafia and the crooked cops that support them.

Things settle down, Black Caesar moves to LA, and comes back with a vengeance when his pops is killed. Cute scene where Mafia in park dies with hot dogs in their mouths.

The dialog and story wasn't the greatest, but if you are looking for righteous action, you've come to the right place.
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Disappointing and rushed sequel to the brilliant 'Black Caesar'. More action, but far less interesting.
Infofreak13 April 2003
I loved Larry Cohen and Fred Williamson's previous collaboration 'Black Caesar', one of the toughest and most enjoyable movies of the early 70s blaxploitation boom. That movie was a great success and in the rush to cash in with a sequel something was lost. Cohen was shooting his killer baby classic 'It's Alive' at the same time Williamson was making 'That Man Bolt', yet they still attempted to make 'Hell Up In Harlem' simultaneously! Cohen's script is weaker this time around and the emphasis is on fights (fists and guns) over character development and story. The movie is more of an action film than a crime drama and therefore much less interesting to me. Williamson is still a powerhouse, but the movie as a whole fails to satisfy. Gloria Hendry ('Black Belt Jones') and D'Urville Martin ('Dolemite') both return from the first movie but aren't required to do all that much. You could even call their roles cameos and not be far wrong. Julius Harris ('Superfly') also returns as Williamson's father, but this time round he has a much larger role, and almost carries the first third of the movie all by himself. The film directly follows on from 'Black Caesar' with Tommy Gibbs (Williamson) recovering from a near fatal gunshot wound. He relies upon his Pop to keep things together, and this enables Harris to blossom from a middle aged straight citizen into a cool dressing killing machine almost overnight! This is one of the most entertaining things about the whole movie, but not enough to stop it from being a disappointment. Even the score this time round is inferior, with no James Brown content. I think this movie was too rushed and suffers for it. It has its moments but isn't a patch on 'Black Caesar'. I've noticed that quite a few blaxploitation classics fail to deliver with their sequels (I'm especially thinking of 'Foxy Brown', Jack Hill's weak follow up to his sensational 'Coffy'). I wonder why that was? Greed perhaps, or lack of faith in the material, I don't know. Anyway, 'Hell Up In Harlem' is okay, but it could have been, SHOULD have been a lot better! 'Black Caesar' is still brilliant though, don't miss that one.
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Action packed!
goregoregore22 February 2005
No, this is not one of the greatest blaxploitation movie ever made; and yes, it has its flaws. But man, is this one a fun ride or what? It's an hour and a half of pure action with one of the greatest action hero of all time. It's ass kicking after ass kicking, as Tommy Gibbs takes revenge on everybody that have ever been dumb enough to mess with him. The fight scenes are great, inventive and plentiful. The cinematography is quite decent too and the story fun enough to keep you interested in it. Larry Cohen once more delivers the goods in this one. It's actually much better then most action stink fest that Hollywood produce this days. So sit tight and enjoy the roller coaster ride while it last.

Go Fred Williamson!
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Entertaining, action-packed movie from the 1970's.
hu67526 September 2010
Tommy Gibbs (Fred Williamson) is also known as Black Caesar, he finds himself shot by a corrupted police officer in the middle of the street in New York City. Since Gibbs is an well-known gangster, he has the ledger with the name of every bad cop and government officials on the mob's payroll. Gibbs is now public enemy number one in the city. He brings his father (Julius W. Harris) to the mob, Gibbs teaches his father every he knows. But someone in the gang is double-crossing Gibbs and he knows, there will be hell to pay. Revenge looks sweet for Black Caesar.

Written, Produced and Directed by Larry Cohen (It's Alive Trilogy, A Return to Salem's Lot, Q:The Winged Serpent) made an amusing, violent, if sometimes unintentionally funny sequel to "Black Caesar". Cohen is at his best, during some of the action sequences, the quick-paced editing and hand-held camera work. Williamson and Harris are fun to watch in this movie. Although the movie looks rushed, the story isn't as clear as its supposed to be and the film is quite sloppy at times.

DVD has an sharp anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an decent Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono Sound. The DVD's best feature is the humorous and informative commentary track by Cohen. At times, his commentary track seems to be more entertaining than the movie! DVD also includes the original theatrical trailer and an teaser trailer. "Hell Up in Harlem" is a lot of fun, despite some real flaws. Some of Edwin Starr's songs are quite good. If you are an fan of Soul Cinema in the 1970's. Don't miss it. (*** ½/*****).
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Black Exploitation Classics courtesy of Larry Cohen.
Captain_Couth10 February 2005
Hell Up In Harlem (1973) was a follow up to the classic Black Caesar. Do to the box office success of the former film, the producers wanted another sequel to cash in on the popularity of the first film. So Larry Cohen quickly completed a script that was going to follow the revenge of Tommy Gibbs. This time he's out to get rid of the clowns that he forgot to finish off in the first film. Papa Gibbs has taken control of his son's empire and Rev. Rufus is back as well.

Not bad for a movie that was hastily put together. A fitting end for Tommy Gibbs as he tries to turn his life around in the process of seeking vengeance. One of the better black "exploitiation" films to come out of the seventies. If you enjoyed Black Caesar, you'll love Hell Up In Harlem.

Highly recommended.
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Cheap, crude, but kind of fun
Wizard-820 December 2014
This sequel to the popular blaxploitation hit "Black Caesar" was cheaply and hastily shot, and it shows. It is pretty obvious at times that star Fred Williamson wasn't always available, meaning that he's either doubled or his character simply doesn't appear at all in a scene. The low budget and speedy production also shows in other aspects, one being the screenplay. There isn't too much of a story here. Indeed, it seems at times writer/director Larry Cohen was making things up during the shoot. But despite the crude nature, the movie all the same kind of works. It is fast paced, and never boring. And Fred Williamson does manage to make his character magnetic enough that you keep watching him. Apparently audiences agreed, since this sequel was successful enough at the box office that the studio planned a third movie concerning the adventures of character Tommy Gibbs, but those plans were eventually cancelled.
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Pretty terrible but never dull
preppy-316 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
**DEFINITE SPOILERS** This film is a direct sequel to "Black Caeser". The first 7 minutes show the ending of the first film in which Caeser (Fred Williamson) was being chased and then beaten to death. This movie conveniently ignores that he was killed and has his father rescuing him. He survives and kills all the people that double-crossed him. He then tries to go legit...but his past won't stay away. **END SPOILERS**

The first movie was dull and stupid--it just had some violence and a good performance by Williamson to keep it going. This sequel was made quickly (it shows) and is REAL stupid--but it's never dull. The plot moves very fast and there's tons of violence and plenty of blood. All the violence is pretty funny--it's ineptly staged and obviously faked with some hilariously bad post dubbing. The acting is bad except for Williamson and this actually left room for another sequel (which thankfully never happened).

This is a pretty bad movie but I was never bored--all the action and violence kept me entertained. If you liked the first you'll probably like this. I give it a 5.
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Fun, but doesn't measure up to the original
DrSatan18 August 1999
Fun sequel takes off where Black Caesar took off...lots of violence...soul soundtrack not as good as James Brown's work on Black Caesar, but passable. Overall this movie has an even more fantastic plot than the first but is still basically enjoyable...particularly the island ambush scene and the chase in which Williamson runs after his opponent, who boards an airplane to L.A. from New York...Fred doesn't sweat it and gets a flight that just happens to leave a few minutes after the first gets off. We see scenes of the two men in planes...upon landing, at the same time, Williamson finds his quarry in a crowded airport and picks up where he left off in New York. As I said, ridiculous, but fun.
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Great 70s Action Flick
memery-114 April 2008
This film might not be as popular as its predecessor "Black Caesar," but "Hell Up in Harlem" is far more explosive. This movie was my introduction to Fred "the Hammer" Williamson, and it's one of his best movies. Not much of a story, but the action level is awesome. Plus, this movie is far less preachy and depressing than "Black Caesar." Great supporting roles played by Durville Martin and Julius Harris, and a cool theme song by Edwin "War" Starr. Action highlights include the opening chase scene (which pretty much disregards the first film's bleak conclusion), the island shootout and of course the hard to believe NYC to L.A. chase! If you're new to the Hammer, start with this movie. It's definitely his best.
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what did you expect
allar10020 April 2003
This is not the best of the blaxploitation films, but it is entertaining. This is the sequel to Black Ceaser, but they completely ignore the ending to its predecessor. The sound is not to great, and the story is kind of weak and forced, but come on, what did you expect.
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Even more black coolness!
DJ Inferno9 August 2002
Another kick ass blaxploitation classic, director Larry Cohen really knows his stuff! "Hell Up in Harlem" features even more action than it´s great predecessor "Black Caesar" does! It´s a fast-paced crime story about the rise and fall of an Afro American godfather and everybody who loves such blaxploitations goodies like "Dolemite", "Blacula" or "Foxy Brown" should give it a look! Once more, main actor is the ultimate coolness and it´s no wonder why Quentin Tarantino digged him out for his funny "From Dusk Till Dawn" movie. Unfortunately, they don´t make stuff like this anymore! Movies like "Dead Presidents" or "New Jack City" are nothing else but failed attempts to exhume the blaxploitation genre! Better watch the originals again, they are da real deal!
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Big Papa Gibbs
gattonero97527 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The only saving grace in this pointless sequel is having as always the great Fred Williamson back in one of his greatest roles: Black Caesar. They even mention him as that at one point because in the original he was never called that.

Where do I begin to even explain this as I said pointless sequel. The original one was superb and should have just ended at that. This so-called sequel begins literally where the original ended except they changed the ending! I had the privilege to see the original in it's unedited glory with the original ending where Tommy Gibbs dies at the hands of a group of thug kids who beat the living hell out of him and supposedly he dies when he attempts to go hide out with the ledgers in his old abandoned neighborhood. In this sequel they just completely eliminate that great ending and make it where he survives by calling his dad!? The late great Julius Harris returns as Papa Gibbs as well as the beautiful Gloria Hendry as Helen and well as the late great D'Urville Martin as Reverend Rufus.

I feel the Julius got a bigger and better role in this one and it's quite a funny sight to see him just change from being a regular gentleman Mr. Gibbs to the "Superfly-ish" Big Papa. He makes quite a convincing gangster/thug. Gloria & D'Urville where just wasted in the meager roles and Gloria basically gets strangled in a alley because she was reduced to being a prostitute. Even the great Fred Williamson barely rode on his charisma alone on this one but for me just did not achieve what the far superior original did. The only good part Fred had was towards the end when he takes on the whole mob by himself in a one-man army type of thing. We also get to see Fred doing a lot of running and showing his still at the time physical agility and skill as a sprinter/runner.

The musical score on this sequel was way inferior to the superb score James Brown did in the original. To me the music alone on the original made the picture. Here, it was not bad but was completely lacking in the way Brown did his score.

Of the new characters only the lovely Margaret Avery as Sister Jennifer and Tony King as the treacherous enforcer Zach made a impression on me.

All in all not a bad film but not a good one either. I will watch and re-watch the original "Black Caesar" over and over and never get tired of it but this sequel? No way. One time viewing was enough.
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I can't shoot anyone, I'm a man of God now!
sol-kay25 August 2005
(There are spoilers) Rushed sequel to "Black Caesar" that was released the same year that it's predecessor premiered in 1973. "Hell up in Harlem" takes up where "Black Caesar" ended with Black Godfather Tommy Gibbs,Fred Williamson, staggering through the streets of New York with a bullet in his gut courtesy of the NYPD and corrupt New York City District Attorney DiAngelo, Gerald Gordon. Saved by his dad Big Papa Gibbs, Julius Harris, and a group of local homeboys Tommy, no longer limping like he did in "Black Caesar", is nursed back to health and before you can say Jackie Robinson is back in action to take out those, gangsters and law men, who tried to do him in.

Extremely violent and far more rousing then "Black Caesar" the film "Hell up in Harlem" has a WWII-like commando sequence with Tommy and friends storming ashore a Mafia held island, like US Marines or Navy Seals. After taking out what looked like an entire battalion of Mafia soldiers Tommies commandos force the remaining head Mafioso's to eat a full plate of "Soul Food" and make a peace settlement with Tommy's gang. There's also a graphically sick and nauseating lynching scene in the movie and what has to be the longest chase sequence in motion picture history; 3,000 miles from NYC to L.A.

Tommy back in the saddle again as Harlem mob kingpin expands his gangster empire to Philidelphia Detroit and L.A. What turns out to be the biggest threat to his power is, like in almost all Godfather-like films, are those close to him. Having the goods on DiAngelo and the corrupt politicians and big wigs in NYC, with the secret ledgers that he stole in "Black Caesar", the local power brokers in and out of the city's government don't prosecute or kill Tommy. Instead try to get to him through his top enforcer Zack, Tony King. Zack murders Tommy's ex Helen, Gloria Hendry, and makes it look like it was sanctioned by his dad Big Papa Gibbs.

Tommy in a fit of fury quits as mob boss and throws the organization that he founded into the hands of Big Papa who ends up doing a better job running it then Tommy did. Going legit and moving to L.A Tommy later gets the bad news that his dad was killed by Zack, who took over the Gibbs Harlem rackets. In a fit of rage Tommy goes back home to NYC to get even but it's not only Zack that he has to deal with but D.A DiAngelo and the entire NYPD as well.

Too vicious and violent even for a gangster film "Hell up in Harlem" has really no one in it to cheer on or feel sympathy for with the exception of Helen and Tommy's wife the Bible reading and church going Sister Jennifer, Mrgaret Avery, and Tommy and Helen's young son Jason.

"Hell up in Harlem" starts off with the last ten minutes or so of the movie "Black Caesar" which makes you think, if you already saw "Black Caesar", that you've already seen it before and turn the film off. Were told at the end of the movie that Tommy disappeared, together with his young son, and was never seen or heard from again but he did re-appear, of sorts, as Willie a Tommy Gibbs-type mobster a year later in the movie "Crazy Joe".
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Dud up on the screen...
JasparLamarCrabb7 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
A lousy action film starring Fred Williamson. He's back as the "Black Godfather." This time he's trying to outwit a crooked DA and mend the broken relationship with his father (Julius Harris). It's pretty dull and, as directed by Larry Cohen, very badly put together. The editing is atrocious and Cohen's script is alternately tough and sappy. The title is also somewhat misleading since very little action even takes place in Harlem. Williamson has presence but not much acting talent. Classy Harris saves the film from being a total debacle. D'Urville Martin is fine as one of Williamson's cronies turned priest and Margaret Avery is "Sister Jennifer," who for some reason appears to be in a walking coma.
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"He's a candy ass."
utgard1428 June 2014
Sequel to Black Caesar, written and directed by Larry Cohen, has the Harlem gangster (Fred Williamson) taking on the mafia, the cops, and a traitor within his own organization. It's an enjoyable enough blaxploitation flick but not as good as Black Caesar. There's a lot of action and some of it is pretty chuckleworthy. The scene where the black gangsters attack the mob and make two of their bosses eat soul food is particularly amusing.

It was obviously a rushed production. If you're looking for tight continuity, look elsewhere. They change the ending to the last film entirely, as well as other plot elements. Still, Williamson is good. Sexy Gloria Hendry returns and there's some new eye candy from Margaret Avery. It's missing a great soundtrack like the best blaxploitation films had. Edwin Starr's songs aren't that hot. Apparently James Brown's music was rejected by Cohen. The same music that would go on to be the great Brown record "The Payback." Bad move, Larry.
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Serious side-burns is back!
hitchcockthelegend22 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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Hell Up in Harlem is an entertaining sequel to Black Caesar even with some changed characterizations
tavm5 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
So a couple of days after I watched Black Caesar on Hulu, I got my Soul Cinema Double Feature DVD and saw the movie's sequel there: Hell Up in Harlem (by the way, Cotton Comes to Harlem was the other feature). Like the movie serials of long ago, this follow-up ignores some of the details of the last one (like the fact that after Tommy Gibbs is shot, he dies when a group of ghetto kids beat him up). Also, the father as played by Julius Harris wasn't someone who admired his son's lifestyle in the previous one yet here he seems to relish the chance to be his son's partner. One more thing, it seems convenient that D'Urville Martin's crooked preacher of the first one is suddenly reformed as a real one here though he goes back to his previous characterization soon enough. Anyway, this time the villain is district attorney DiAngelo (Gerald Gordon) who seems to want Gibbs real bad to the point of willingly taking Tommy's ex-wife (Glora Hendry) with him when she tells him about those ledgers that was a plot point in the previous movie. I'll just stop there and say that despite the contradictions inherent between both movies, I enjoyed this one perhaps a little more due to more action (clumsly as some of it is) and less of a serious tone. Certainly the revenge scenes of the respective villains in both movies provide some sort of catharsis to anyone who suffered through many of the stereotypical characterizations of African-Americans from previous years. I have to admit though that some of the scenes of Tommy and his "son" border on the cheezily saccharine. Good thing they're very brief. In summary, Hell Up in Harlem is a bit more fun compared to its predecessor even though writer/director Larry Cohen was involved with both. And while the songs by Edwin "War" Starr aren't as good as those of James Brown in the predecessor, they're okay. So, yeah, that's a recommendation. P.S. The trailer presented with the movie has an extra scene in which female black maids and members of an Italian mob are singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" with Williamson saying, "Isn't America great?" Amusing stuff though I can see why it didn't end up in the movie.
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An okay sequel
MartinHafer6 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
The beginning of this sequel to BLACK CAESAR reminds me a lot of the old movie serials. At the beginning of each serial episode, they show part of the previous episode and in some cases they actually changed what happened in the previous episode! I remember seeing SPY SMASHER a long time ago and in several scenes he appeared to die--yet when they showed the following episode he actually didn't die after all! Kids loved these films so most didn't question these inconsistencies. Well, the same thing happened following BLACK CAESAR. Fred Williamson's character (Tommy Gibbs) is left dying and beaten by teens at the end of the film. Now in HELL UP IN HARLEM you see many of the same scenes from the end of BLACK CAESAR--but this time there is no dying scene where the man is pummeled by teens and he is not all alone. Instead, Gibbs' father shows up to save him along with a posse of friends--even though this clearly is NOT how the previous film ended and the father (Julius Harris) is a very different character than he was in the previous film. These sort of inconsistencies about in the movie and I guess the character was too good and American-International Pictures decided to bring him back regardless of whether or not it made much sense.

In this film, Tommy is a bit different than the last film. In BLACK CAESAR, Tommy was 100% unlikable and bad--a truly despicable guy. However, here in HELL he's more like a crusader as he fights corrupt government officials and mobsters. While some of this action is pretty good, the latter portion of the film is pretty silly even by Blaxploitation movie standards. That's because Tommy returns from an inexplicable retirement in LA and takes on the entire mob all by himself!! And, in many instances, he kills baddies in front of huge crowds and yet he always is able to escape unharmed!! In the final scene, the leader of the mob catches him at point blank range--yet the gun somehow miraculously jams! These scenes just don't look thought out and seem a bit sloppy--though exciting on a very basic level. In many ways, this sequel and the ridiculous way the guy takes on the mob single-handedly reminds me of SHAFT'S BIG SCORE--another sub-par sequel to an excellent Blaxploitation film. Overall, this is an okay film--neither as original or clever as the original and a film that seems like it's mostly action and very little plot--it's simply mindless brain candy.

By the way, at one point the film cuts to a scene on an island and the caption reads "an island off the Florida Keys". Well, I've been to the Keys and they are some of the flattest islands on the planet. Yet, oddly, this island is very, very hilly and there isn't a palm tree in sight!!
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Fair Sequel
Michael_Elliott9 April 2008
Hell Up in Harlem (1973)

** (out of 4)

Sequel to Black Caesar has Fred Williamson surviving his assassination attempt and slowly moving up the ranks. How does he do this? By killing any Italian person he can get his eyes on. This film has a somewhat legendary making of since both the star and director were busy doing other things and they just got together on the weekends to shoot this film. I think it's easy to tell that the movie was rushed because there isn't any evidence of a screenplay having been written. The movie is nothing but non-stop, bloody violence from the opening to the closing. There's nothing wrong with this as it adds a lot of fun to the movie but if you're expecting anything deep then you can forget it as this thing is weak, story wise, even when compared to the poorest written blaxploitation film. Williamson is once again good in his role and he has the perfect attitude for this type of film. There are all sorts of shoot outs, explosions and even some kung fu thrown in for some good laughs.
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There's more hell than anywhere in this blaxpoitation of a film!!
smiley-3229 August 1999
Hell up in Harlem is one hell of those classic blaxploitation film. Too true though, 'cos I got this one on tape.

This tells the story of Tommy Gibbs (Fred Williamson), the Black Caesar of New York's underworld who suffers a brutal blow when he gets shot in the streets courtesy of crooked New York cops trying to put an end to his reign of private organisation.

One thing for sure, he gets hold of the book of ledgers, names of corrupt people responsible for screwing around the neighbourhood making people lives hell in New York City.. Tommy is a man who won't go down in a fight, in fact he goes around bumping off drug suppliers, gangs, corrupt lawyers, etc who causes trouble in and around New York's underworld...

Also his main problem is another crooked officer James DiAngelo who seems determined to stop Tommy Gibbs from ruining his business.

When it all grinds down to the nitty-gritty Tommy takes another shot to finish those where he started and restore peace to New York's underworld.

This film made me laugh in a few parts, basically it's all to do with one man running his organisation in order to bring the bad guys who screwing up New York's neighbourhood.

Great songs from Edwin Starr who also sings the theme tune to the film..

It's worth a watch which Fred Williamson one of the stars who still makes his name as one of the classic names in blaxploitation films to date..

If you ever get to see Hell up in Harlem, you'll see how the Big Boss takes care of the business.. You catch me drift..?
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Hastily-made round two in the story of gangster Tommy Gibbs.
Poseidon-331 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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Tommy Gibbs returns
chainsawfodder31 December 2006
Fred Williamson reprises his role in the sequel to one of the more well-known flicks of the blaxploitation genre. I found this to be a more entertaining film than it's predecessor because it could concentrate more on the action as the characters and their back stories were developed in Black Caesar. This time the focus is on both Tommy and his father (Julius Harris) and how they take their territory back after the events of the first movie. The beginning was a little awkward as it rewrote the final few minutes of Black Ceasar but from there, the film evolved into a revenge story as Tommy tracked down the people who did him wrong. There were a number of great action scenes including Tommy and his mini-army storming a mob hangout on an island and a cross-country chase scene that would make the contenders on "The Amazing Race" envious.

I found that director Larry Cohen was a lot more comfortable with the characters this time around and I enjoyed seeing Harris with an expanded role. Still, I think that it would have been extremely challenging being a white director such as Cohen or Jack Hill with a predominantly black cast in that particular era. The score was by Edwin Starr (who is most known for the song "War") and was pretty good even though I would have preferred another score from James Brown. Brown was initially involved but his score ended up being scrapped but thankfully was still released as one of my favorite albums from the Godfather of Soul entitled "The Payback".
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