Black Sister's Revenge (1976)
By: David Michael Brown on June 18, 2008  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Dark Horse Entertainment (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0. 100 minutes
The Movie
Director: Jamaa Fanaka
Starring: Jerri Hayes, Eddie Allen, Charles D. Brooks III
Screenplay: Jamaa Fanaka
Country: USA
AKA: Emma Mae
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While not reaching the delirious phallic exploits of Soul Vengeance or the ferocious male bonding of his Penitentiary series, Black Sister's Revenge can be seen as the perfect counterpoint to Jamaa Fanaka's testosterone charged cinematic oeuvre. Gone are the male posturing and rampaging rubber bodyparts. Black Sister's Revenge is a simple tale of a woman done wrong and her ass kicking anger that puts her man in his place.

The film follows the life of Emma Mae, a country girl who becomes entangled with a drug dealer when she moves to the big city to try and make a new life for herself. It's unavoidable that she will mix with the wrong crowd. Her family is that wrong crowd and the question really is when will she crack rather than if? After her man is sent to prison she tries to raise his bail by starting a car wash business. When this fails, bank robbery is her only alternative. When he is finally released from the slammer he jumps into the bed of the first woman he can lay his hands on and it's not Emma Mae. As they say Hell has no fury like a woman scorned and Emma Mae is no exception. She soon realises what she has to do to get her life back on track by giving her man the kicking of his life.

Once again Fanaka's naturalistic style pads out the running time with local atmosphere shots making the most of the songs they have paid the rights for. Always an important part of any blaxploitation film, the tunes are certainly funky, but the incessant shots of grinning locals parading the streets do get a bit wearisome and predictable. When Emma Mae's act of revenge does come, it's almost a little too little, a little too late, and possibly not quite the Black Sister's Revenge we were expecting. A four minute wrestling match in the front porch ending with her repeatedly pummelling the poor man's family jewels is hardly worth the build up to the event.

Performance wise the film revolves around Jerri Hayes as Emma Mae, a naïve young girl who turns into a woman when she descends into a world of pimps, players and private eyes that changes her forever. The rest of the cast are the usual rabble of hip thespians who walk the walk and talk the talk, looking damn good while they do it. For all the actor's efforts, however, Fanaka's bargain basement approach does tend to make the film a sedate and uneventful watch.
The 16:9 enhanced 1.85:1 presentation is watchable and colourful for the most part but is full of dirt and marks. Frequently grainy, the print shows signs of its age throughout.
The soundtrack is not in too great a shape either but not to the detriment of the film. DV1 have done their best with the source materials available without spending a fortune on the transfer.
Extra Features
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
Revenge may be sweet but in terms of this black sister, it's also laborious and dull. Following Soul Vengeance and Penitentiary, it is obvious that director Jamaa is more in touch with his manhood than his sensitive feminine side and Black Sister's Revenge shows his inadequacies as a filmmaker. That's not to say there isn't something to enjoy in the film, especially at the cheap price of $10, its just when compared to the likes of Coffy and Foxy Brown and the voluptuous figure of Pam Grier, this sister just doesn't have what it takes.

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