Black Fist Reviews
A low down cheapo blaxploitation that if it wasn't for a few half decent fist fights and a couple of funny lines it would be unbearably dull. Unless you're wanting to watch every movie of this type then I'd give this a big miss
And yeah, that "Institue of Oral Love" bit was priceless !!!
"Black Fist" is for most of its running time a fairly engaging, well acted film. There's nothing terribly original here--it follows the same pattern as the vast majority of blaxploitation films and the cast of characters are all stock figures--but the script is tighter than most and the acting is far, far better than one might expect. Richard Lawson in particular gives a fine performance, and Philip Michael Thomas is lots of fun as two different 1970s pimp-tastic stereotypes, both of which come to bad ends.
Unfortunately, as the film reaches its climax, it completely falls apart.
The second half of "Black Fist" is a revenge tale, with Lawson's character working his way through the crime syndicate that backed the streetfights to deliver payback. However, the film suddenly takes a sharp right turn, breaking with the conventions it been following almost religiously, and provides an ending that is weird, anti-climactic, and just plain bad. It's a "what the hell?" sort of ending, but not one that makes you think... it just makes you annoyed, because it's completely out of step with the 90 minutes that led up to it. (I suspect the fimmakers thought the final shot would be thought-provoking; I thought it was trite and stupid.)
I wonder if there wasn't a different ending originally intended for this film... perhaps even a different story flow. It would explain the unusual credits where a Richard Kaye is noted as having directed and scripted "additional sequences" for the film and some of the odd jumps in events. Kaye's other few credits are for producing, so I wonder if he took it upon himself to redo the ending of the film after most of the cast and crew had move on--which would explain the unsatisfying off-screen dispatching of the film's main bad guy (Robert Burr) and that he attempted to set it up by inserting scenes and references to an "overboss" who wasn't part of the original film.
What little research I felt inclined to do did not support or disclaim that theory, so in the end all I can do is chalk it up to another low-budget movie that could have received a higher rating--and provided a far more satisfying viewing experience--if not for some bizarre choices made at some point in the production process. This film was earning itself a low Seven until the final few minutes... then it barely managed to rate the Six I've given it. It only hung on because of the strong performances on the part of the featured actors.
Black Fist (aka "Homeboy", "Bogard". and "Black Streetfighter")
Starring: Richard Lawson, Dabney Coleman, Philip Michael Thomas, and Robert Burr
Directors: Timothy Galfas and Richard Kaye
One of my favorite scenes takes place outside the "Institute of Oral Love"