Combustible Celluloid
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With: Max Julien, Don Gordon, Richard Pryor, Carol Speed, Roger E. Mosley, William Watson, George Murdock, Juanita Moore, Paul Harris, Kai Hernandez, Annazette Chase, Junero Jennings, Lee Duncan, Stu Gilliam, Sandra Brown
Written by: Robert J. Poole
Directed by: Michael Campus
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 110
Date: 04/04/1973

The Mack (1973)

3 Stars (out of 4)

'Mack' Attack

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

One of the seminal works of blaxploitation is actually a bit softer and more thoughtful than it may appear. This is partly thanks to the low-key, sleepy-eyed performance by Max Julien as "Goldie," the "mack" of the title. Released from prison, Goldie vows to eschew his former drug-pushing/drug-taking ways and become the best pimp the Oakland streets have ever seen. When he assembles his ladies, he lays down the law to them over the loudspeaker at the Planetarium, accompanied by thunder and images of planets and stars spinning around. The film is full of odd little touches, such as a man attacked by rats in the trunk of a car or battery acid injected into the veins of another. But in-between the (white) director Michael Campus employs an almost improvisatory approach, it's as if the actors weren't even aware the camera was running. Richard Pryor co-stars as Goldie's pal, but his role isn't very big, and he doesn't have many funny moments. Willie Hutch provided the funky music score. New Line's 2002 DVD comes with a commentary track, a new making-of documentary and a trailer.

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