Directed By Arthur Marks
On paper Bucktown seems like a blaxploitation fan’s dream come true. Fred Williamson, Pam Grier and seasoned genre filmmaker Arthur Marks on all accounts should make for a potent combination. Maybe I expected too much from that stockpile of talent, because unfortunately the film ends up being merely adequate in large part due to the silly ass plot that would be feasible in maybe the Holy Crusades or Feudal Japan, but not so much in 1970s Missouri.
The action begins when Duke (Fred Williamson) steps off a train in Bucktown, Missouri to claim his recently deceased brother’s estate, which includes his flashy red-light district nightclub. Told that he must stay in town 60 days before the estate can be properly turned over, Duke decides to wait and tend to the business before selling it. All is not well in Bucktown however, as Duke soon finds out. The entire municipality is being strong-armed by a gang of corrupt police officers who extort cash from local businesses, solicit prostitutes, and participate in illegal gambling rings. Not to mention that they are racist as fuck. Seriously, even by typical genre standards these guys hurl out the most hateful, redneck slurs this side of the battle of Gettysburg.
The chief is locked up in an underground jail cell and the mayor congratulates the vigilantes by suggesting a parade, which is turned down in favor of awarding them all city employment as police officers! Yeah. Beginning to see where this is headed?
Needless to say, Roy and his thugs pick up right where the cops left off, once again milking the town for profit and littering it with every lowbrow scheme you could cook up. Duke takes issue of course and chides Roy because it’s brothers against brothers this time. Duke is willing to let it slide for a while, simply refusing any profits, but when Roy’s gang breaks in and tries to take some of Pam’s cherry the Hammer leaps into action, jumpkicking the assailant and beating the unholy shit out of him before hijacking a military armored car and crashing it into Roy’s fortified compound.
Genre regulars will be happy to find the usual American International crew and bit-players here in full force. Rasulala is as good here as he was in Blacula, Art Lund is just as shallowly evil as he was in Black Caesar, and Carl Weathers and young Tierre Turner from Friday Foster show up to round out the cast.
Don’t be fooled when you look this shit up on IMDB and see the cast and crew. Aside from a few choice moments, Bucktown is hardly worth your time. In the end, this is 94 minutes you could spend watching Coffy instead.