Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So I had just taken the family to see ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ and we stopped off at my mother-in-laws house to pay a visit. She has cable and those free On-Demand movies so my wife is scrolling through and I spot that J.D.’s revenge is available and I stop her right there – before she can get to a stupid RomCom - and alert her to click the button. As a self professed huge fan of Blaxploitation this is one that I’ve never seen and wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to see it right there for free. If you give a damn about what I thought of ‘The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ there’s a review of it somewhere on this site, but the movie I enjoyed the most on this day was ‘J.D.’s Revenge’.

Isaac (Glynn Turman) is your average hard working Joe, driving a cab at night and studying to be a lawyer during the day with his lady love Cristella (Joan Pringle) besides him every step of the way. One fateful night Cris coerces Ike, who would have much rather stayed at home, to hang with their good friends Tony and Sarah on their anniversary. Somehow they get the bright idea to go to one of these hypnotized type voodoo shows, considering that this is New Orleans and all, with Isaac taking center stage at the show. Well this opens a portal into Isaac’s brain somehow giving the dead pimp J.D Walker (David McNight) full access. My man J.D. was a hustler player pimp back in the day who was murdered in a set of convoluted circumstances while trying to defend his sister and has vowed to one day get his revenge, and the time for J.D.’s revenge has come.

Isaac knows something is wrong with his ass because of all the headaches he’s suffering from, though his doctor advised him to just relax and smoke some weed. This is what his doctor told him now. But this isn’t helping because J.D. is creeping deeper and deeper into Isaac’s psyche making Isaac beat up his girlfriend, beat up old ladies, get his hair konked, purchase Zoot Suits, use some of the most vile language

I’ve ever heard and become incredibly efficient in the use of a straight razor.  J.D. has also identified his marks in preacher Elijah Bliss (Louis Gossett Jr.) and his brother Theotis (the late Fred Pinkard),  particularly Theotis because he’s got something special in mind for his murdering behind.  Eventually J.D., through Isaac, brings everybody back to the scene of the original crime so the truth can finally be heard and more importantly, J.D. can finally avenge his death and the death of his little sister.

This is the kind of movie this is:  “That was some of the best fuckin’ I’ve ever had” the woman would tell J.D. who only smiles while calmly getting dressed.  Suddenly the door opens and it’s this woman’s husband which makes the woman jump and yell “Oh No!, it’s my MAN!”  J.D. calmly finishes buttoning up his sleeve and replies “Really?  You better go talk to him then.”  J.D. then proceeds to slice the shit out the fool.  To quote using the vernacular of the day, ‘J.D.’s Revenge’ is a stone cold trip.  There were a number of reasons that this flick was a cut above the average Blaxploitation flick of the day, not the least of which is that this is movie that was filled with real live actors with no sports stars or kung fu artist anywhere to be found.  I love Fred Williamson and Jim Kelly, but I doubt very seriously that they could have pulled off the dual performance that Glynn Turman managed to reel off in this film.  He was both over the top funny with the hair, clothes and language but also menacing and evil with his quickness to pull out his blade and cut a fool.

Seeing Louis Gossett Jr. as a much younger actor is also a bit of revelation since we were pretty convinced he popped out of his mother looking around 68 years old, and then we were also blessed to see Joan Pringle get naked which didn’t suck at all.  We were all used to seeing Ms. Pringle as the uptight matriarchal Principle Buchanan in ‘The White Shadow’, but what we didn’t know was that the woman has a set of knockers on her that would make Pam Grier raise an eyebrow.  Crass?  Perhaps.  But this doesn’t make it any less true.

The story as directed by the now 80 year old Arthur Marks is plenty ridiculous and filled with plot holes galore and inconsistencies abound, mainly how in the hell did Isaac become the portal for J.D.’s spirit in the first place, but it was still an awfully entertaining story and one that was devoid of all references of The Man and Gettin’ Whitey which also made it seem a little fresher than most.  Plus a lot of the dialog was pretty raw in some points and there was more nudity, in addition to Ms. Pringle getting all nekkid, than you can shake a stick at. 

When I tell you that enjoyed this movie more than the new Indiana Jones movie I’m not being flip.  Where that was big finance summertime empty mayhem, ‘J.D.’s Revenge’ , while working with 1/10000th of the budget was more fun, had more real emotion, more soul and had a better supernatural story to tell.  And Harrison Ford would look completely ridiculous in a Zoot Suit and a Konk.

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