SOUL POWER is kind of like a prequel to a favorite documentary of mine, WHEN WE WERE KINGS. Remember how there was that music festival at the Rumble in the Jungle, it was supposed to be the same week as the fight, but Foreman cut his eye and the fight got delayed? Well, they were shooting footage of the festival too, so here’s a separate movie about that.
The star of the show is James Brown (with mustache). Also on the bill are Bill Withers, The Crusaders, The Spinners, B.B. King, Celia Cruz, Miriam Makeba and some African musicians. The movie shows about 1 song per performer, but it’s also about setting up the show. There is priceless footage of a party held back in the states before they all leave for Zaire, James Brown making a speech and everything. On the plane they’re all singing and playing guitars, drums and flutes. I didn’t notice JB or any of the big icons during these scenes, but it’s still amazing to see a plane full of people having so much fun. Then when they arrive there’s a ceremony set up for their arrival. The highlight is the huge smile on Muhammad Ali’s face when he goes up to shake JB’s hand. (read the rest of this shit…)
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.