March 18th, 2008

MISTER DEATHMAN (1977) ½ *

David (Zombie Island Massacre) Broadnax stars (as well as co-wrote) as a tough talking secret agent in this sorry excuse for a blaxploitation action flick.  In the opening scene he jumps into the cockpit of an airplane and shoots down a bunch of bad guys so some honkies can escape.  Then all of a sudden he’s in an office building being shaken down by two goons.  When one of them cuts him, he ambushes them in an elevator and douses them with fire extinguisher foam; then the credits begin. 

 

If you can figure out just what the heck is going on in the film’s opening scene, more power to you.  I was totally lost.  I couldn’t tell if the scene of Broadnax in the cockpit shooting people was supposed to be a flashback, or if my DVD player inexplicably was playing the wrong chapter.  All I know is that this scene must have been edited by a one-eyed drunken lobotomy patient.  If you have any traces of mental deficiency and suffer from a severe case of ADD, this scene will seem like a cinematic wet dream. 

 

The rest of the movie isn’t edited much better. 

 

If it seems like I’m forgetting to tell you about the plot, it’s okay because the filmmakers didn’t bother either.  Something to do with Broadnax being hired by a bunch of white folk who want him to go to South Africa for one reason or another.  Or something like that.  All you gotta know is that Broadnax is a secret agent who has a couple of cut rate Bond style gadgets (like a switchblade belt buckle and a literal exploding cigar) and shoots a bunch of badly dressed crackers.

 

Broadnax (who resembles a comatose Don Cheadle) has all the screen presence of a turnip and seems to have trouble pronouncing the dialogue he wrote for himself.  (In one scene he says the word “agreement” as if it was two words.)  The only fun comes from seeing Stella (Monster in the Closet) Stevens (!) as the no-nonsense lesbian crime boss (is there any other kind?).  She also gets the movie’s best lines like, “Bring me back his head!  At least an ear,” and “He’s a genuine 24 carat pain in the ass!”

 

Director Michael D. Moore had a long and varied career.  He started out as a child actor in silent films before becoming one of Hollywood’s more prolific second unit directors (he worked on the first three Indiana Jones films).  He got his first job as a director on Elvis’ Paradise Hawaiian Style before being offered tripe like this.  Just reading his interesting list of credits on IMDB was a lot more fun than watching this mess, that’s for sure. 

 

If slapdash editing, incoherent plots, visible boom mikes and extremely lame action sequences is what you crave in your blaxploitation flicks, consider Mister Deathman your new Citizen Kane. 

 

Suggested Drinking Game:  Take a shot every time Broadnax gets either A) tied up B) thrown in a jail cell or C) gets a net thrown over him and kiss your sobriety goodbye.