Surprise, surprise blaxpo fans the movie that started off the penitentiary series is available. No, it's not the one with Mr. T (penitentiary II) or that horrible one with the midget. (penintiary III) This is the one with the original too sweet, half dead and seldom seen. Despite the fact this movie is the epitome of low budget, try to find the boom mike in some scenes.
This remains one of my favorite cult films. The cinemetography is pretty good. The fight between Too sweet and Half dead is particularly interesting. The use of the Wide angle lenses to give the viewer a distorted view. And the way some characters address the camera. Look were not talking Citizen Knae here, but it still is interesting.
That's not what impresses me most about this movie. It's the fact it transends the usual blacksploitation stereotypes. They are still there but also there is also a lot of truth within it's characterizations. Seldom seen character is no caricature he's a real. (He plays too sweet's trainer.) I was amazed at how realistic his portrayal of an institutionalized convict was. We really get to understand him and why he does what he does. Another interesting thing about this movie is the character half dead (Badja Djola) was hilarious. (You want some Mr. goodbar) You might remember him from the dozens of movies she's appeared in afterward (a rage in harlem, mississippi burning and other films) I also liked the fact that this was funny (mostly) but it also contained moments of dead seriousness. If you are any kind of fan of blacksploitation movies, or cult movies in general check this one out. If you can find it.