The Black Six/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
Bubba and his Army buddies have returned from Vietnam and they are now bikers who travel from town to town. Nothing means more to them than being free. At the opening of the film, Bubba's younger brother Eddie and his girlfriend Jane are at the local football field. Eddie's a football player and he's practicing his kicks while Jane watches. The only thing is, Jane is white, Eddie is black. Suddenly, Jane's older brother shows up with his friends. These guys are local redneck biker gang members. Pretty soon they are chasing Eddie with chains in a kind of arena game. Its not long before they hit Eddie and he goes down. The bikers drive by him and swat him with the chains, ultimately killing him.
Out on the Road, Bubba and his pals stop at a country farm where an old white woman lives. They do some work moving hay into her barn in exchange for a meal. The guys really enjoy the home cooked meal she gives them while they talk with her about their new way of life. We can see that these guys know how lucky they are to be alive after making it through Vietnam, now all they want is to live their lives without any attachments or problems.
The group leave the farm and when they arrive at a small town, Bubba gets a letter stating his brother has been killed. Bubba's in a predicament because he knows he has to go back. When he lets the group know the deal, they tell him they don't want to go back, but Bubba's important to them and they finally decide to join him.
The Six stop at a diner while on the way to Bubba's and this is where we get the first real scene with The Black Six vs. racists. They encounter some real redneck losers. The Six ask for some beers and ham sandwiches. The owner's wife says she has no ham...as she cuts a big ham. They then ask for beer. They go through every kind of domestic brand, but theres no beer either. Things get heated pretty fast and before you know it The Six start to get angry and destroy the diner as the locals all run outside in terror. As the Six leave the scene, the owner's wife is going nuts. When the last member of The Six walks out, he slams the screen door and the entire diner falls down. Its a great scene that mixes comedy with a very strong statement.
When Bubba arrives at his home, he visits his mother and sister who he hasn't seen in 5 years. His younger sister is now a pretty heavy Civil Rights supporter and she sees The Black Six as a bunch of careless Uncle Toms. The Six feel bad, but they don't hold any grudges towards her. Bubba then begins his own investigation on who killed his brother. He sees the local police and isnt satisfied with their follow up on the crime, so he begins hitting all the hang out spots and then sees his old girlfriend "Ceal" who is now a working prostitute.
Bubba finally finds Jane working at the local bar and when he inquires about his brother's death, she begins freaking out and soon her brother and his biker pals are in Bubba's face. Bubba asks him straight if he killed Eddie and after a rude reply, he finds out it was in fact Jane's brother. When the biker gang surrounds Bubba, The Black Six show up and a big fight almost goes down until the local sheriff walks in and tells them all to disperse.
NEXT UP: It's The Black Six Vs. The White Bikers in a showdown!!
The Black Six is an entertaining, funny, dramatic Blaxploitation/biker film. The actors who play The Six were all NFL football players (including "Mean" Joe Greene) and they do a good but not great job at the acting game (these guys aren't Denzel or Will Smith!). I can see that The Black Six was a kind of side project for the NFL pros to do in their off season maybe to make some extra cash and try out another form of entertainment. The film certainly examines racism in an "in your face" way and it is definitely a great black empowerment piece. Another good example of civil rights themed Blaxploitation that may not have been an A list work, but was still an important part of the changing times in film and American culture.
Peter Roberts is the co-founder/editor-in-chief of the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb) and contributor to the GCDb's sister site Furious Cinema. A Massachusetts native, he is an avid film fan that has been immersed in the world of entertainment and pop culture his entire life. He is currently majoring in Communications and Interactive Media Design.