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'I'm Gonna Git You Sucka'

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 14, 1988

 


Director:
Keenen Ivoy Wayans
Cast:
Keenen Ivoy Wayans;
Bernie Casey;
Jim Brown;
Isaac Hays;
Antonio Fargas;
Steve James;
John Vernon;
Clu Gulager
R
Under 17 restricted


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You've got to wear a big hat to get into Mr. Big's Big Brim Club, where the capos wear chapeaus commodious enough to house midget henchmen. These Harlem-meets-Dr. Seuss hats are among the silly surprises in store in the erratic blacksploitation spoof "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka."

Keenen Ivory Wayans wears three big hats in this disappointing screwball hommage to the '70s action adventures of his childhood -- "Shaft," "Superfly" and "Cleopatra Jones." That is unhappily one hat too many for the talented writer-star, who struggles through a sophomoric debut as a director. Lack of experience combined with a low budget can make for spotty pleasures.

Wayans, cocreator of "Hollywood Shuffle," is nevertheless chock-full of ghetto kitsch and ethnic humor. There's the first annual Youth Gang Competition, featuring such events as the 100-yard dash while under hot pursuit and carrying a color TV set. And there's the curious tragedy that goads the boyish hero, Jack Spade (Wayans), to confront Mr. Big (John Vernon), a crime boss who exploits a generation's addiction to gold chains.

When Jack returns from a 10-year hitch in the Army, bedecked with medals for surfing and typing, he learns that his brother Junebug has been found dead under a mound of chains that would stagger Mr. T. Junebug had overgolded -- "OG'd" -- $5,000 in debt to Mr. Big. Swearing to avenge him, Jack finds allies in his boyhood heroes -- John Slade (Bernie Casey), Kung Fu Joe (Steve James), Hammer (Isaac Hayes) and Slammer (Jim Brown). A little over the hill, the middle-aged superheroes self-destruct in the final conflict with their longtime nemesis.

Unlikely help comes from Flyguy (Antonio Fargas), a former "Pimp of the Year" who recalls the glory days before he was ruined by Big. Flyguy flashes back to the talent portion of the pimp contest. He recites a poem -- "My Bitch Better Have My Money" -- an ode reminiscent of Eddie Murphy's "Kill the Landlord, C-I-L-L, Kill the Landlord." It's not that Wayans lacks wit, it's that he's stomped it to death. A sweet-natured performance -- and the fact that he and Tom Cruise probably have the same orthodontist -- doesn't quite make up for the muddle. Don't be a sucka.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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