Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I gotta hand it to my main man Jean-Claude La Marre because the brother is nothing if not prolific as a filmmaker. He’s made a bunch of movies, of which I think I’ve seen maybe four or five and true enough, at least of the ones I’ve seen, I can’t call any of them good movies. At least not with a clear conscious. In fact, and it pains me to say this because I admire the man’s entrepreneurial spirit, but of the ones I’ve seen… well… they’ve been awful. But as we always say here at the FCU, past performance is no indicator of future expectations so we accept each new project with a blank slate, such as this film from director Jean Claude La Marre, ‘Trapped: Haitian Nights’. Yes, ‘Haitian Nights’, as it turns out, is awful. Absolutely awful. But we entered with an open mind and thus this movie earned its badge of awfulness honestly.

Let’s see… we meet Dr. Richard Lazar (Rudolph Moise) who is back in his native Haiti, speaking with a dead voodoo priestess about what to do about freeing his wife Nadine (Kenya Moore) from the vicious grip of the completely evil voodoo king Ikliff (Obba Babatunde). Apparently before he got married to Nadine, Richard was in the middle of a torrid affair with Ikliff’s babygirl Florence (Kia Samuel), which I believe would make her a voodoo princess. He actually breaks up with Florence while they’re in a bubble bath. I’m no expert on breaking up with voodoo princesses, but I probably would’ve just phoned that in. Regardless Florence swears revenge, and soon after the wedding, Nadine goes missing. Not having full body access to Kenya Moore sucks even in this pretend world which is why is why Richard is so desperate to get her back.

Soon super tough cop Detective Martin (Vivica A. Fox) and her partner Detective Steward (La Marre) are on the Case of the Missing Hottie. That is after Detective Martin gets a couple of days off as granted by her conk sporting boss Captain Lewis (Sid Burston). Not quite sure what these days off had to do with anything relating to this movie, but I did love the conk. Anyway, Detective Martin is on the case grilling Doctor Richard at his palatial estate about the get down. Then Detective Martin enjoys dinner with her man Mike (Clifton Powell), a former police officer. Then Detective Martin grills Doctor Richard again, for the first time, this time in a loony bin. Then Doctor Richard goes all Raid on Entebbe back in Haiti to get his woman back. Then Detective Martin interrogates Doctor Richard again, for the first time again, back at the loony bin. It’s complicated. Seriously. It’s complicated like you would not believe.

First allow us to take this small bit of time we allotted to praise Jean Claude La Marre who has been acting, producing and directing movies for the better part of twenty years. This man is doing the damn thing and we admire and respect him for this. True enough, when it comes to the films he directs, we wish he’d do it better, but the fact remains that the brother is a triple threat renaissance man and we wish him the best.

Unfortunately none of this makes ‘Trapped: Haitian Nights’ any easier to comprehend. It’s a little difficult to describe what is ultimately wrong with ‘Haitian Nights’ without spoiling ‘Haitian Nights’ so we are going to attempt to avoid that, but recognize by the time we get the final end game twist, a movie that was hard to read along with to begin with, has now become completely illiterate. I mean we appreciate a twisty thriller as much as the next guy but this was insane, but again we’re not going spoil it for you in case you want to experience the insanity for yourself or in case you happen to be way smarter than we are, which isn’t much of a stretch to be honest with you. It’s not like the final result was all that confusing but the path to get there is about as convoluted and as wacky as anything ever committed to film. Or videotape. Or SD cards. Whatever my man shot this thing on.

Now as far as the technical aspects of the film goes, Mr. La Marre has all that stuff pretty well figured out about now. ‘Haitian Nights’ looks good and sounds good, the actors on board, including, Mr. La Marre, were a veritable who’s who of veteran African American character actors so the performances were solid enough, even though I got the feeling the actors in this movie seemed to be about as confused as to what was going on as I was. Plus I probably would’ve exploited Kenya Moore a little bit more since she did agree to be in my movie, considering the girl didn’t get nearly enough screen time.

Again, we take our hat off to the man, but we wait for a decent movie to come out of the House of La Marre. Maybe I’ll check out his sequel to his movie Jesus Christ. I would imagine the ending of any movie on the life of Jesus Christ would be fairly definitive, but this man has essentially made ‘Jesus 2’. Yeah, I just may to check that out.

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