Blockhead | USA | 10/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This movie had a lot of difficult hurdles to overcome, and the deficit was never reached. But what one has to judge is it's entertainment value, and it borders somewhere between outstanding and boring. Never mind the controversy, (that was made-up media hype), it never happened and the end result was a dismal failure.
By the time this movie was released, (1981), the Bronx was over the phase that this movie 'Hollywood-ed' in order to gain some attention. The story of the 60's and 70's unrest and socio-political conscious was not unique to the Bronx, but it was in the forefront of Modern American history and this was the back drop to this tale.
The high points to this movie are in the acting, the actors themselves and the writing, (superb and outstanding). The low points are with the weak and fractured storyline and the incomplete lives of the characters portrayed in this movie. In addition to this, the movie made the characters out to be lingering on the loony, and stereotyping all Bronxites as silly in nature.
Also, it was difficult to maintain an interesting flow and one can see that they certainly tried to keep one interested. But the loopyness was frustrating and it finally bored me. It probably made the grade for a television movie sitcom in production value. But as a front-line blockbuster film it missed by a long shot. It almost seems as if the movie was rushed out of production and into the editing room just to get it over with. What a shame....a real missed opportunity. There was so much potential.
In my honest opinion, I think the movie's staff truly wanted to get it over with. The reason for this was the lawsuit that writer, Tom Walker, brought forth against the makers of this film. The basis for Tom Walker's lawsuit was that the writers of the movie had stolen the ideas from the memoirs in his book, 'Fort Apache: Life and death in the city's most violent precinct'.
Although the courts ruled against Tom Walker, the damage was already done. I can only assume that in anticipating a settlement the movie staff lost interest in the project. This is only my guess...but it seems more than likely. I firmly believe that Tom Walker had good cause. There are striking resemblances in the movie and in the book. The key missing ingredient was the time-line.
The movie depicts all this unsettlement happening during the 1980's. The book firmly documents factual events from the late 60's and early 70's. The courts ruling was a simple outcome: One cannot patent an idea, and similarities simply aren't proof enough.
Regretfully, in a perfect world the movie staff should of owned up to stealing Walker's memoirs and should of worked with him to get his masterpiece into the public view. The result would of been positively unimaginable based on the potential this movie had. I rated this movie a five based on it's potential. But it's entertainment value should be closer to a three. Nonetheless, an interesting movie to watch. But more like the ones television broadcasters come up with.
One objectionable note was that the DVD was not available in widescreen, and the audio was not in stereo, but only mono. Making the experiance even more painful.
I took the risk of settling for that rationalizing that the rarity of the movie on DVD would justify the low quality. I was only partially right."