Shaft! Superfly! Supersoul Brother? That’s right, boys and girls. There’s a new hero
in town and his name is Steve. Once a down-on-his-luck, homeless wino, Steve,
thanks to a freaky scientific experiment, has been transformed into an
incredible being who is faster than a…well, he’s actually not faster than much
of anything , but he is more powerful than your local wino and able to bag
chicks who are way out of his league!If
you’re a fan of the funky ‘70s Blaxploitation genre, you can rejoice as a real
rarity has been dug up for your viewing pleasure.
When speaking about Blaxploitation cinema,
most film buffs immediately think of classic action flicks such as Foxy Brown or Three the Hard Way (and rightly so), but there were plenty of other
wonderful genres covered. For instance, horror quickly comes to mind. Blacula and The Zombies of Sugar Hill are not only two solid entries in
Blaxploitation cinema, but in horror cinema as well. And then there’s comedy. Who
can forget Rudy Ray Moore’s uproarious classics like Dolemite or Disco Godfather?
Supersoul Brother sort of fits into
this last category as, like Dolemite,
it’s a spoof of crime/action movies; not to mention comic book superheroes (it
was originally going to be titled The
Black Superman) and the then enormously popular Six Million Dollar Man television show.
Directed by Rene Martinez who also co-wrote
with Laura S. Diaz, Supersoul Brother aka
The Six Thousand Dollar Nigger (I kid
you not) concerns small time hoods Bob (Benny Latimore) and Jim (Lee Cross) who
pay evil Dr. Dippy (Peter Conrad) six thousand dollars to create a super
strength serum that will enable them to easily rob a safe filled with diamonds.
There’s only one small problem: whoever takes the serum dies in six days. Enter
Steve (played by comedian Wildman Steve Gallon), a wino who has hit rock bottom.
The hoods inject the unwary Steve with the serum, convince him to carry out the
robbery (which Steve thinks is just a practical joke) and plan on keeping all
the diamonds for themselves once Steve croaks. However, Super-Steve catches
wind of their nefarious plan, hides the diamonds and, with the help of Nurse
Peggy (the gorgeous Joycelyn Norris), tries to elude the hoods and find an
antidote before it’s too late.
So, is the movie any good? I wouldn’t say that it contains bad-ass cool and non-stop laughs à la Rudy Ray, but I think it’s worth a look as it’s funny in spots and keeps you interested enough. It also has a somewhat charismatic lead in Wildman Steve, some lovely ladies, a fun superhero theme song (sung by a little kid) and plenty of silliness such as a midget doctor who never combs his hair and almost gets his eye poked out by his girlfriend’s boob, and a guy walking down an urban street in broad daylight with a gun visibly sticking out of his pants; not to mention a ton of unintentional laughs thanks to priceless dialogue, stiff line deliveries, hilarious continuity errors and plenty more so-bad-it’s-good moments which, if you’re a fan of strange cinema, are guaranteed to make you smile. On the downside, the film print itself contains pops, scratches and jumps that only die-hard grindhouse cinema junkies like myself would find endearing and, although the Miami-lensed, low-budget feature clocks in at a brief 74 minutes, many of the scenes seem like they could’ve been made to move along a bit faster. That being said, I enjoyed Supersoul Brother for what it is and, if everything I mentioned above isn’t your cup of tea, the movie, with its funky fashions and wonderfully dated décor, is at least interesting as a 1970s time capsule.
Supersoul Brother has been released on DVD (for the very first time) by Vinegar Syndrome. The disc is region free and the movie is presented in its original 1:85:1 aspect ratio. The aforementioned pops, scratches and cuts (which sometimes occur in the middle of dialogue) never detract from the story, and the images are otherwise extremely clear making the movie, which has been scanned and restored in 2K from The American Genre Film Archive’s 35mm theatrical print, more than watchable. Unfortunately, there are no bonus extras. If, like me, you’re a fan of the 70s Blaxploitation genre, a lover of strange cinema or you just like to laugh, I recommend givingSupersoul Brother a shot.