Exploitation Alley: THREE THE HARD WAY (1974)
I suppose I can blame this week’s Exploitation Alley on my best friend (and wife of Icons’ editor Jerry) for sending me a picture of a very shirtless, and very hot Michael Jai White as Black Dynamite. For some reason, ok…for many reasons I thought of the 1974 Blaxploitation classic THREE THE HARD WAY. This film has everything our little Blaxploitation loving hearts desire. It stars Jim Kelly, Jim Brown, and Fred Williamson, has quite a few groovy tunes, explosions that appear out of nowhere, and an interesting sound effect that kind of just happens throughout the movie. It almost sounds like a really intense, yet very sad drop of water. Why? I have no idea. But weird drop of water sound effect aside, THREE THE HARD WAY is one hell of a great film, cheese and all.
The film starts off pretty action packed, and thankfully remains that way for the rest of the film, which is pretty awesome. For starters, there’s a dramatic escape from a “medical facility” who isn’t really performing any positive functions or servies…but we will learn about that a little later. The man who made his escape, named House (Junero Jennings) did so with a RESERVOIR DOGS type shot in the stomach (there is even a scene where he is bleeding like crazy in the back seat of a car) and is taken to Jimmy Lait (Jim Brown), and his gorgeous girlfriend Wendy (Sheila Frazier). While in the hospital, House informs Jimmy that there is a plan in the works to “kill them all.” Dun. Dun. Dun. Things start getting serious when House is killed right there in the hospital bed, and Wendy is kidnapped (which is obviously the quickest way to get your shit beat in). Rightfully so, this pisses Jimmy off a great deal. Realizing that he needs backup, Jimmy enlists the help of his friends Mister Keyes, (Jim Kelly) and Jagger Daniels (Fred Williamson). With the threesome together, adn ready for action, we’re given a trio of complete bad-asses.
When the men realize what crazy plan the murderers and kidnappers have up their sleeves, things get way serious. The sinister plot is headed by a shady turkey named Monroe Feather, (Jay Robinson) who is joined by a few idiots and a scientist who developed a serum that only kills African-Americans, and are planning on leaking this into the water supply of a few big cities to rid themselves of the African-American population. In other words, they want to commit genocide by poisoning the water (what a dick move!). Now, if you are awesome…you are probably saying “Hmm…this sounds so familiar. Where have I heard of this?” If you are thinking of the plot of 2009’s blaxploitation homage, BLACK DYNAMITE, you are correct. Instead of drinking Anaconda Malt Liquor and getting a Little Richard, with THREE THE HARD WAY, there is death by poisoned water. Will the three heroes win this battle of hate and evil? Will Jim Kelly end up taking his shirt off? Are there naked chicks with gorgeous, sweaty, 1970s boobs? Well, maybe you will have to check this one out for answers to those age-old questions. And when I say maybe, I mean do it.
All in all, this is a great flick. It is definitely a classic, completely entertaining and action-packed. A film that can be enjoyed anytime, by anyone. If you’re a fan of BLACK DYNAMITE, BLACK SAMSON, and just have a lust for explosions galore, this is definitely something you should check out.