Tuesday, November 03, 2015

These Three Make It Look Easy

Three The Hard Way is a team-up movie. An old friend of Jimmy Lait's (Jim Brown) escapes from an illegal prison run by Mr. Feather, and warns Brown that Feather is working on a scheme to kill all the black people in the U.S., but only them. The friend is murdered soon after, and Jimmy's lady friend Wendy is abducted. So Jimmy tracks down his old friends Jagger (Fred Williamson) and Mister (Jim Kelly) to help him uncover the details of the scheme, stop it, rescue Wendy, and basically kill everyone behind the whole thing.

Since the middle of the film is devoted to the three heroes splitting up to deal with individual threats in different cities, I expected each of them to pair off with one of the motorcycle riding dominatrices Jagger had invited to help interrogate the one hapless goon they captured alive during one of the many attempts by Feather's band to kill them. But no, they arrive, get topless briefly, we hear a lot of screaming, the guy tells all he knows, then dies. We don't see them again. I guess they only like to inflict pain in specific circumstances.

I liked Jay Robinson as Monroe Feather a lot early in the film, when he was very soft-spoken and calm, because it made him terrifying. He seemed rather dispassionate about the whole thing, and I could easily envision him slitting someone's throat without a trace of emotion. The longer the film goes, the more grand speeches he starts making, he starts getting caught up in his own hype, his desire to be remembered throughout history. Which is probably important, that he's not operating on some extremely misguided ideal, he's really just another ignorant jackass trying to feel important off the suffering of people different from himself. But as a villain, he lost a little something.

I don't think the specifics of the villains, their personalities or whatever, are all that important. They're bad guys, they're up to no good, and they die, in large numbers. The heroes occasionally stumble - Jimmy gets wounded once, Mister fails to stop a guard from triggering an alarm - but mostly have no trouble. There's a running thread about Mister relying on his martial arts, and Jimmy frequently urging him to use a damn gun, please. It really comes off as more of a hang up on Jimmy's part, as we don't really see a sequence where Mister not using a gun costs them (a gunshot likely would have alerted people as readily as the alarm), but it's kind of interesting.

It's a decent movie. The film charges ahead towards the climax, and doesn't really waste time on any branching paths, outside of a few scenes between Jimmy and a police inspector that don't go anywhere. The inspector doesn't help Jimmy, but also doesn't interfere, so he's just kind of there. I guess if Jim Brown's character had been a cop, rather than a music producer, they could have done the, "You're off this case, Lait! Give me your gun, and your badge!" bit, but no. The two scenes are brief enough it doesn't make much difference, I just wondered at the point of them.

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