Fred “The Hammer” Williamson stars here as who else…..B.J. Hammer.
Using the tried and true backdrop of boxing, Fred stars as a fighter on his way to the title while turning a blind eye to the shady promoters who own him till he’s in way over his head.
Producer Al Adamson mixes boxing and the heroin trade into one script perfectly timed for the blaxploitation market with one of it’s most well known faces. One look at Williamson and you realize he could easily step into the ring and come off looking good. Adamson will forever be known for his low budget horror and biker flicks like the 1971 fiasco Dracula vs. Frankenstein.
Despite warnings from his pal Bernie Hamilton on the police force, Fred carries on under his current employers who keep William Smith close by for any needed muscle to keep the troops in line. Smith is a casting directors dream come true this time out. He`s not only menacing, he beats up both men and women as well as making countless racial slurs against practically anyone within camera range. He`s beyond convincing this time out.
Fred makes his way through the ranks zeroing in on a title shot. It’s at this point that the mob puts the pressure on his promoters to ensure Fred takes a fall. Just to make sure he does what he’s told, Smith arranges for lovely Vonetta McGee to disappear until after the fight. This doesn’t sit well with Hammer as shes his gal.
There are few surprises during this films 94 minute running time but don’t let that deter you from taking a trip back in time to the days of blaxploitation cinema. When one could hear Jive Sucker! screamed from movie screens. Or how about my personal favorite throwback line this time out. When Hammer tells Vonetta of first moving to the big city he had to “smack the fag, hump the whore and dodge the needle.” No fooling!
One has to look at these films as a time capsule when viewing them. It’s a different era when guys like Fred and Richard Roundtree were populating movie houses across the continent bringing in people of all races and Pam Grier was just about the sexiest woman in film. The language in the films is far from politically correct by today’s standards so if you’re easily offended, pass the whole genre by. To coin a phrase, you either “dig them” or you don’t. I guess I do.
As for movie tough guy William Smith, he flirted with the genre a few times appearing as the heavy in Black Samson and once again opposite Fred in Boss Ni–er.
A nice bit of trivia here is that costarring as the police inspector is Bernie Hamilton, He would go on to play Captain Dobey in the seventies hit series Starsky and Hutch. By the time the big screen version came around in 2004, Fred Williamson stepped into the role.