Directed By: Ernest R. Dickerson

Written By: Eric Bernt

Cinematography: Bojan Bazelli

Editor: Sam Pollard

Cast: Ice-T, Rugter Hauer, Charles S. Dutton, F Murray Abraham, Gary Busey, John C. McGinley, William McNamara, Jeff Corey, Bob Minor 

A homeless man is hired as a survival guide for a group of wealthy businessmen on a hunting trip in the mountains, unaware that they are killers who hunt humans for sport, and that he is their new prey.

At the time this might have seemed like an action film that was a fine by the dozen, but looking back it feels like it was a bit ahead of Its time.

As at the time it might have felt too basic or familiar. To a film like Jean Claude Van-Damme starring HARD TARGET. 

Casting Ice-T during a starring hot streak and then surrounding him with well-known character actors. As seemingly types though as the film goes alongside actually revealing decency or having specific reasons for their savagery and blood lust.

His casting works as he is not your typical action hero presence. So that gives him a kind of wild card status in which to impress and win over the audience. As he is the protagonist, we still don’t know exactly what to expect. 

Though race isn’t brought up it can easily be seen or interpreted. Even if the argument is over classism. As Ice-t’s character is a military vet who is homeless and most of the hunters are rich, successful white men. Racism and capitalism usually walk hand in hand. As for something to have value another must not have any. As really the only other person of color is Charles S. Dutton who helps discover him and convinces him to take the job.

The film offers plenty of surprises and double-crosses. It also offers ice-T’s character who was suicidal a reason to survive, a passion for life, and live again. 

The film comes across as a little bit more realistic in its action sequences. Which are quite impressive. As no one is an expert, some characters actually need to reload or rest. Though it never feels overplayed, overwrought, too expensive or stylish just to look cool.

The ending is a bit of a letdown by bringing up a point that is repeatedly brought up so many times. You know it will be integral later.

One of the reasons for the audience to enjoy the film is that most of the cast, the hunting party if you will, is made up of classic character actors who usually play villains. So it’s a murderer’s row hunting our hero down. Which gives the film and the lead a kind of bonafide status 

This ends up being one of the more memorable ice-t leading roles, especially in an action film. No less treated a certain way maybe because it is more contained. As far as cast size goes. 

Grade: C+

THE RITZ (1976)

Directed By: Richard Lester
Written By: Terrence McNally (Play & Film)
Cinematography By: Paul Wilson
Editor: John Bloom

Cast: Jack Weston, Treat Williams, F. Murray Abraham, Jerry Stiller, Rita Moreno, Kaye Ballard, John Ratzenberger

On his deathbed, Carmine Vespucci’s father tells him to “get Proclo”. With “the hit” on, Gaetano tells a cab driver to take him where Carmine can’t find him. He arrives at the Ritz, a gay bathhouse where he is pursued amorously by “chubby chaser” Paul B. Price and by entertainer Googie Gomez who believes him to be a Broadway producer. His guides through the Ritz are gatekeeper Abe, habitue Chris, and bellhop/go-go-boys Tiger and Duff. Squeaky-voiced detective Michael Brick and his employer Carmine do locate Gaetano at the Ritz, as does his wife Vivian

This film took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting much and was pleasantly surprised. The film is Reminiscent of a certain era in Hollywood when they used to turn hit broadway plays into the film instead of vice versa (Why no one has tried to make bad films like the one into hit broadway show I will never know. Maybe it would improve the film to have song and dance routines to lighten the already ridiculous story.) 

Some of the jokes fall flat and the film is a bit homophobic by presenting so many stereotypes, But it’s not cruel about it. After all, this is a gay farce really at heart. There are so many jokes both visual, physical, and spoken since the film is fast-paced. They just come at you so fast. yet they are witty and I like films like this. 

They remind me of the screwball comedies that I love. So it’s a joy discovering this one when you think you have seen all the great ones worth watching. then this gem comes along. The film is definitely a farce as you can’t take anything in this film seriously. 

 It Stars Jack Weston who with Allen Garfield was a great go-to guy as supporting actors of the ’70s, especially in comedic roles. Always were solid and funny but rarely got to play leads ad when they did the films were usually bombs. They themselves were usually good. This is an unappreciated gem. It’s hilarious from the beginning to the end. The whole cast steal scenes from one another. This is John Ratzenberger’s film debut. 

The show originally began on broadway and the show’s cast all reprise their roles except Stephen Collins who in the film is replaced by Treat Williams.

The Film’s fast pace flows well but I would not expect anything less from director Richard Lester. Who always seems to make chaos enjoyable and somehow make sense in the end. He seems to bring out the beauty in it. From his films with the Beatles to here. He always injects the proceedings with a certain amount of boundless energy and joy which is always very welcome. 

 Go out and rent it. Though it is worth buying and will be a good inclusion into your home library and a good suggestion for the friend who claims to have seen everything. I can see how this film might not be for everybody.