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J.D.'s Revenge

By Sean Axmaker

It's been branded with the "blaxploitation" label, but there is little that's exploitive in J.D.'s Revenge, a film of well-drawn, articulate characters dragged into a supernatural showdown. Glynn Turman (Cooley High) is especially fine as the sensitive and quiet Ike, a determined student moonlighting as a cab driver, so wound up he's on the verge of cracking. Enter (literally) the ghost of J.D., a violent, vengeful gangster murdered in the opening moments. He could be Ike's own Mr. Hyde, a dapper, flamboyant ladykiller with a fiery temper and a straight razor who slowly smothers Ike's easygoing personality. Driven by flashes of memory, he sets his vengeful sights on fire-and-brimstone preacher Reverend Bliss (Louis Gossett Jr.), whose dark past is intricately tied up with J.D.'s murder. Director Arthur Marks (Detroit 9000) sidesteps the usual spooky clichés to stir up a modern New Orleans gumbo of ghost story, gangster tale, and character drama. J.D. is both devilish sadist and avenging angel, while the tortured Ike awakens from J.D.'s violent rampages with a hole in his memory but a sick feeling from his imagined complicity in the crimes. The story gets wrapped up a little too neatly in the end, but the dark character shadings and the evocative mystery at the center of Ike's possession makes J.D.'s Revenge an unexpectedly compelling supernatural thriller.

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"Is J. D. 's Revenge a cinematic masterpiece? No. But if you want an entertaining, exciting, and somewhat spooky movie to check out for kicks, this is the one.

Though it's definately consistent with the time it was made, it wasn't your typical "Blackplotation" flick (I happend to be black), and I loved that about it. That alone made it rare, considering that it rivaled movies like the Black Six, the Black Gastapo, Black Fist, Blacula, Black Samson ect, ect, ect.

The high light of the movie for me, was the scene when J. D. just gets out of bed with a babe he smoothly scooped up from the bar "J. D. you're something else! Yeah, me and Jesus!" And her husband suddenly comes home. J. D. say's to the babe "You better go talk to him. " The husband watches J. D. come out of his bed room and J. D. says to him "Yeah, I f***ed your woman! The angry husband charges J. D. , but J. D. has THE STRAIGHT RAZOR! Prefered weapon in the black community during the 20's, 30's and 40's. J. D. deftly dodges the attack while cutting the man down like Samurai Jack, while simultaneously talking big trash to him!

I would consider this movie a guilty pleasure. Check it out!"




Buy this VHS movie from! (Click here!)Buy this DVD from! (Click here!)Soundtrack unavailable at - try eBay (see links below)Rated RNot on an American Film Institute 100 list

Director: Arthur Marks

Stars: Glynn Turman, Joan Pringle, Louis Gossett Jr., Carl Crudup, James Louis Watkins, Alice Jubert

Released: October 22, 1976

Availability: DVD VHS

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