Undercover Brother

Dir: Malcolm D. Lee
Starring: Eddie Griffin, Chris Kattan, Aunjanue Ellis, Denise Richards

Blaxploitation pics are almost beyond parody, and wisely, this film acts more as a general skewer of pop culture, black and white. Griffin plays the titular, Afro-bearing hero, recruited by a secret black organisation to thwart The Man, who plots to control Black Americans through a fried-chicken chain. Aided by the likes of Sistah Girl (Ellis), and the fabulous Conspiracy Brother (David Chappelle), Brother infiltrates white culture but is seduced by the White She Devil (Richards). Can he escape in time to save James Brown? It's merciless in its savagery, but is so good-humoured you can't help smile; when Sistah and She Devil go toe-to-toe in the inevitable cat-fight, Undercover Brother and the guys he's fighting pull up chairs and break out the popcorn.

Yet it works as an action film too, and is hardly any more ludicrous than the average Bond flick, with Kattan's mugging as The Man's top henchmen also from the 007 villain training manual. It's perhaps too pop-cultural, and I needed Chris to explain a number of the references to me; it should come with liner notes for those of us not brought up in 70's New York. Still, an excruciating karaoke version of Ebony and Ivory will make anyone wince, regardless of race, colour or creed. If you don't find yourself stepping out of the cinema with a solid strut in your stride, then you just ain't got no soul, brother.


E-boh-NEEEEE and I-voh-REEEEEE...
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