Don’t worry, this is the last of the pre-DJANGO slavery-themed reviews. I don’t want to ruin Christmas or anything, but I gotta finish the trilogy.
BOSS was originally called BOSS [word white people shouldn’t say], but it was easy to change to just BOSS and therefore it’s the only one of the Charley trilogy available on a legitimate DVD. In this one it’s still Fred Williamson as Charley, but he’s just called “Boss.” (Or maybe “Bas” like Bas Rutten?) And D’Urville Martin is still his sidekick but he’s called “Amos” instead of Toby. Maybe it’s an alias. At this point they’ve left behind their town in Mexico and are traveling bounty hunters. But it definitely is meant as a sequel because Williamson says so on a title card added to the DVD where he explains why he approves of the use of the n-word in the title, dialogue and theme song.
It’s a much more seasoned director this time, Jack Arnold. We’re talking 20 years after he did THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. It seems to me a little slicker than the other two, but maybe it’s just because of the bad transfers I saw of them. It definitely has the best soundtrack of the three, more of a straightup SHAFT or TRUCK TURNER type score credited to somebody named Leon Moore. He hasno other movie credits, but I think he’s this guy, songwriter of a few obscure funk and soul singles.
If you want you can enjoy this beautiful (but sad sounding) song he wrote for the Temprees while you keep reading:
Kanye West sampled that song for Common’s “The Corner,” but I never would’ve recognized it, ’cause it’s one of those sped up vocal samples he used to be known for before he was known for acting like a jackass sometimes.
Boss and Amos are chasing another rampaging outlaw, a guy named Jed Clayton (hey, it’s William Smith). They come to a town that’s been frequently terrorized by the Clayton gang to the point that nobody has the balls to be sheriff, and Boss decides to appoint himself. So we get more of the wish fulfillment as they go around terrorizing racist white people, fining them for using the n-word, etc. I like their style. Before word spreads about Boss some asshole at the cantina taunts him about shining his shoes. (This is exactly what happened in that Youtube video that BAD ASS was based on.) Boss talks in a submissive slave voice and comes over and starts spit-shining this guy’s boot before suddenly shooting him in the foot. Then he locks him up and lets him moan for a few days before getting him a doctor.
My favorite part is when they’re having breakfast and the mayor (R.G. Armstrong) wants to talk to them, but Amos tells him to wait outside until they’re done “and then we’ll be happy to talk to you.” D’Urville Martin is pretty funny in this one, despite some overly broad shtick like another scene where he’s scared because a somewhat homely lady is aggressively trying to sex him up.
Boss also makes the local shopkeeper give food to the poor, and a dress to a girl he likes. We can get behind most of this stuff but it’s kind of weird that Boss keeps demanding supplies that he doesn’t intend to pay for. This is exactly what the Clayton gang does, they’re kind of the same. I mean I think the Clayton gang probly goes around raping people, and I think the Boss contingent are anti-rape. But maybe the Claytons are too, don’t quote me on that. I shouldn’t have written that. Sorry, Clayton gang. I shouldn’t make an accusation like that without being able to back it up.
Most of the white people in town are never happy with the Boss occupation. There’s a school teacher who likes him and helps him out, but it’s implied that it’s partially due to the sexual attraction that all women have toward Charley/Boss. He helps out the poor Mexicans, so they like him, and there’s one black woman (straight hair, of course) who falls in love with Boss. There’s an odd little thing though where the local blacksmith, a white man, tells Boss to let him know if he ever needs anything. He helps him in a minor way at the end, but not much is ever made of what seems to be a genuine respect and friendliness. I wonder if it had anything to do with Charley’s past as a blacksmith? Maybe this guy could sense it.
I think there’s less all-out action than in SOUL OF…, which is a minus, but on the plus side it takes place almost entirely in one town, so there’s way less of the traveling-on-horses shots. Less fat.
I think Boss becomes a little more iconic in this one. He has a badass all-black outfit, like Django (Franco Nero, not Jamie Foxx). He also gets shot in the hand like Django, but just the left hand, so it doesn’t seem to cause him that much shooting trouble. He gets pretty badly injured though and in the end has to be taken out of town in the back of a wagon. I’m sure he healed and went on to have many more great adventures riding horses and humiliating racists.
In the sequel that only exists in my imagination, Boss met up with that white blacksmith again and they built some badass Old West armor together. With that guy as their Q, Boss and Amos went on many important black ops missions. They were the guys who really killed John Wilkes Boothe. They also built the first motorcycles, so the traveling montages are shorter, and there are more wheelies.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.