poster! Our heroine is Syreena, played by Trina Parks, who was so very memorable as Thumper in Diamonds Are Forever. She and her all-woman biker gang have come to Watts in search of Cinderella, Syreena's mother. And this is not just any ol' biker gang. Their rides -- somewhere between trikes and choppers -- are customized beyond all human reckoning or probably driveability and their outfits are a hybrid of Elvis jumpsuits, showgirl headresses, variety show Cher and Diana Ross' drag in Mahaogany.
motorcycle gang, the Batch, gang led by Mellow, who rides a Vespa dressed up as a Pirate of the Carribbean and is played by Roger E. Mosley, better known as T.C. from Magnum P.I. I think one of 'em might be the guy who played Venus Flytrap on WKRP in Cincinnatti. After some partying Sweetback-style, she tracks down her brother, who is enacting the "kung fu school in the ghetto" trope that makes any movie better.
Darktown Strutters is cartoonish in the extreme. There's the over-the-top bikes and costumes of the characters, while the sets are primary-colored and reminiscent of a children's television playhouse. The acting makes the work of William Shatner look sublte and, when that's not enough, scenes are overcranked to silent-movie speed and plenty of boing, zap and ooga ooga. And sometimes there's dance breaks. The whole movie stops so people can dance. And not in a choreographed "this is a musical" way. No, it's a "let's put on a record and dance" way.
a policewoman, a flapper hooker using her natural poise and take-charge manner to stomp along in her quest to find her mother. It is to Trina Parks' credit that she seems to simultaneously roll with the insanity around her, yet remain slightly above it.
like Obi Wan plays the Stormtroopers. In Darktown Strutters we have the classic pulp/noir plotline of protagonist returns home, searches for missing family member by asking many questions and visiting many character actors before finally coming to the top of the conspiracy.
blaxploitation scale, Darktown Strutters is definitely in the upper 20% -- people who have a need for logic and a distaste for the infeasible might not think so, but fuck them. Darktown Strutters is certainly worth watching, even more so in these times when the idea of a evil, oppressive fast-food magnate is not so hard to believe....