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GORDON’S WAR (1973) ***

Paul Winfield stars as Gordon, a soldier who comes home from the war to find his old neighborhood torn apart by drugs. He enlists the help of some of his veteran friends and together they wage war against all the dope pushers in Harlem. Eventually, Gordon and his team ruffle the feathers of some big shot Mafioso who supply the drugs to the inner city.

Gordon’s War is anchored by a terrific no-nonsense performance by Paul Winfield. He essays the role of Gordon with soft-spoken authority and commands your attention with his easy going charisma. From forcing drug pushers to take their own product, to burning off gangsters’ faces, Winfield kicks all kinds of ass in this movie.

The direction by Ossie Davis is tough and gritty and the whole film is pretty downbeat and unglamorous, which I appreciated. Sure, there are some lighter moments here (most revolve around pimps with colorful names like “Big Pink” and “Spanish Harry”), but Gordon’s War is far more serious and socially conscious than most Blaxploitation action films of the day. Davis also manages to create some great imagery (like the scene where a bunch of topless women are cutting cocaine under black lights) on a shoestring budget.

Gordon’s War starts with a bang, but the tension and urgency seems to leave the film about 2/3 of the way through. Then it feels like its treading water instead of building up to a big finish. The final chase scene is pretty good, although I preferred the smaller, grittier moments from earlier in the film.

Look fast for a young (and topless) Grace Jones making her film debut.

Naturally, Winfield gets all the best lines like, “I’ll kick your ass so hard, you’ll shit out of your ears!”

Comments

( 2 comments — Comment )
comeuppancereviews.com
Jan. 23rd, 2013 12:37 pm (UTC)
Great write-up! Will be watching this soon for the site, happy to hear its good. Paul Winfield is always solid.
thevideovacuum
Jan. 23rd, 2013 01:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I think you will like it. It runs against the grain of what you'd expect from a Blaxploitation film.
( 2 comments — Comment )

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