Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Wanna talk disappointment, I’ll give you disappointment. Disappointment is ‘Black Sister’s Revenge’ and it’s really not even the fault of this movie ‘Black Sister’s Revenge’ that the movie ended up being a disappointment. It’s everybody who is responsible for distributing this film that’s responsible for this disappointment. I’ve provided you here with three box covers for ‘Black Sister’s Revenge’ with all three giving you the false illusion that you were about to watch some Coffy-esque quality blaxploitation action, particularly when observing that the director of this movie is one Jamaa Fanaka who helmed the extremely exploitative ‘Penitentiary’ series. Well exploitation fans these box covers have nothing to do with this movie. Zero, Zilch, Nada. This here is a social commentary about respect for women, community outreach and trying to get by with the weight of THE MAN’s foot on the back of your neck. However if one knows that going into ‘Black Sister’s Revenge’ it is still one heckuva slow moving meandering film experience.

Jerri Hayes is the character of Emma Mae who is fresh off the bus from Mississippi to spend some time in Los Angeles with her big city cousins. At first the girls and their boyfriends weren’t all that happy having the country bumpkin with the busted-do hanging out with them, but after a brief altercation in which the nice girl with some serious anger management issues takes of her business, they realize that Emma is kind of handy to have around. Then Emma meets Jesse (Ernest Williams II) and despite the fact her cousins warned her about the petty drug dealing criminal it isn’t long before Emma is head over heels, for whatever reason.

Next thing we know Jesse and his crew are being hemmed up by some overzealous Black cops which results in a big ol’ altercation and gets Jesse and his boy thrown in jail. Now Emma’s on the outside trying to do what she can to get some loot together so she can bust her man out of jail. Emma tried to make this happen the right way through

grassroots community service and hard work, but it’s not long before that noble effort gets shot down my THE MAN! Wise old Big Daddy (Malik Carter) told Emma Mae and her crew that this isn’t how the WHITE MAN got what he wanted. No sir, WHITEY got off his ass and TOOK what he wanted and Big Daddy advised that they had best do the same. Emma Mae takes what Big Daddy has said to heart and does what she has to do free her man, but sadly all that glitters isn’t gold as Emma Mae discovers that some people probably need the man’s foot on the back of their neck, or at the very least the heel of Emma’s foot embedded in a brother’s crotch. Over and over again.

This was an odd little movie and since I knew little about it outside of the EXTREMELY misleading cover art, and if you had the misfortune of paying attention to this misleading cover art, as I did, you will find yourself sitting around looking at the time counter on the DVD player waiting for something, anything to happen… and brother it takes a while. While we wait, we get to weigh in on Emma Mae adjusting to her surroundings, watch Emma Mae get her hair done, watch Emma Mae inexplicably fall for this guy and watch Emma dispense sage advice to her little adolescent cousin. You see, the little girl was upset at the fact that she’s flat-chested, especially after seeing Emma Mae’s healthy set, and Emma passed on to the child what her father had told her, this being that more than a mouthful is overflow. Outstanding advice for a nine year old Emma Mae, simply outstanding.

Finally stuff starts happening, and while it is not much it is something and this something is watching Emma go grass routes and empowering her people by eventually steering them into a life of crime. Still no Black Sister getting some revenge however. Eventually Emma Mae gets some revenge, but by then we all realize that we’ve been bamboozled.

There was some cool stuff in the movie because I spent quite a bit of time around the characters in this movie in the seventies as a child and the dialog was on point, but then this was a movie directed by a guy named Fanaka and not Levy or Goldstein so I would expect some authenticity in its presentation. When a dude tells informs you that you have a face so ugly that only a mother could love it, and she died so she wouldn’t have to look at it anymore… that’s pretty damn cold and a brother probably needs his nuts kicked in repeatedly. Considering what I’m sure is a microscopic budget Mr. Fanaka has created a professional looking movie with a cast that performed beyond expectations and the message was a solid one, more or less… this just isn’t a Blaxploitation movie and I seriously doubt it was ever meant to be. After watching the movie and at the time not knowing its history I surmised they should’ve just called this thing ‘Emma Mae’s Dilemma’ or something along those lines and then we discover that the original title of the movie was indeed simply ‘Emma Mae’.

It’s too bad they did this to this movie, attempting to make something it was never meant to be. Even still this film is a bit suspect without the misleading marketing but toss in a few exploitative box covers, and you too will be headed down that long and lonely road of disappointment.

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