I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA (1988) — Vital Blaxploitation Parody

I’m Gonna Git You Sucka hit Blu-ray on Feb 2 from Kino Lorber Studio Classics.

I’m Gonna Git You Sucka is a blaxploitation parody written and directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans (and featuring brother Damon Wayans in a supporting role). Viewing it in the modern context, it has become a throwback to a throwback, both to the late 80s, when the film was released, and to the swinging 70s which it parodies. The film released 10 to 15 years after the peak and waning of the blaxploitation genre, so it’s a bit eye-opening to consider that twice that length of time has again passed since then.

Upon his brother’s death, Army soldier Jack Spade (Keenen) returns to his urban childhood home –the setting pointedly established an “Any Ghetto USA”– to find that it’s been taken over by organized crime, and that his own family is being extorted and harassed by thugs to repay his deceased brother’s purported debts. At the top of the criminal empire is Mr. Big (John Vernon), who is of course the clean-cut white guy pulling the strings in classic blaxploitation style.

Galvanized into action, Jack enlists his own childhood hero John Slade (Bernie Casey) — the vigilante tough guy who protected the neighborhood in the 70s — to help him clean up the hood. His idol grudgingly agrees, bringing along friends Hammer (Isaac Hayes), Slammer (Jim Brown), Flyguy (Antonio Fargas), and Kung Fu Joe (Steve James).

The film’s style of humor is broad and silly in the same way that most parody movies are, but its admiration for the genre and actors make it an endearing riff. Jokes run the gamut: visual gags, friendly-fire jabs at black and urban culture, 4th-wall breaking monologues, and good old fashioned slapstick. The separation of the 70s throwback angle also imbues the film with a sense of timelessness, unlike the groan-inducing, ultra-current pop-cultural referencing that plagues so many modern comedies, including some of the Wayans’ later films. Following Hollywood Shuffle (which Keenen wrote) and preceding their breakout hit In Loving Color, this is the Wayans at their most hungry and vital.

Neither the passage of years nor the unfortunate erosion of the Wayans Brothers’ brand of parody have done much to bring down this hilarious and enjoyable film. Keenen Ivory Wayans stars and directs in a story that comes from a special place personally and mirrors his own genuine admiration of the bygone genre and its larger-than-life stars.

The secret to Sucka’s winning formula is that he enlisted the real blaxploitation legends to play their respective roles. The resulting parallel is that Jack Spade recruits his old neighborhood heroes in the same way that Wayans casts them in his film — a nicely played sentiment, if a bit obvious. The cast members willingly bow to the script’s need for humor, playing well against their tough guy images.

Weirdly, once Keenen gets the gang together, he’s a bit at a loss on what to do with them once it’s time to storm Mr. Big’s compound. Jack’s personal journey at the center of the film steals from the old guys’ thunder and the comical ways in which some of them are dispatched from the fight (to force the young man to step into the role of a hero) are rather slackly scripted and anticlimactic, and the film’s ultimate climax fails to negotiate the corner from comedy to action.

Still, the chance to see so many blaxploitation stars (especially the criminally underrated Bernie Casey, who starred in the phenomenal Hit Man) sharing the screen, cracking wise, striking cool poses, and getting a few licks in is an intoxicating concoction that any lover of the genre should experience.

The Package

I’m Gonna Git You Sucka hit Blu-ray on Feb 2 from Kino Lorber Studio Classics. The disc comes in a standard Blu-ray case and features the awesome classic VHS artwork of yore, which is miles better than the original poster or modernized DVD art.

Special Features and Extras

Making-Of Featurette (5:33)
 EPK-style behind the scenes featurette with an introduction to the film’s colorful cast of characters. Keenen talks a bit about his motivation to feature and work with his childhood idols. Worth watching just to hear stars menacingly growl the title and see glimpses of some gags that were apparently too wacky to make the film’s final cut (sadly not included via deleted scenes).

Additional B-Roll and Footage (4:43)
 More interview content and on-set stuff in the style of the Making-Of Featurette.

Theatrical Trailer (2:11)

Other Trailers
 Additional trailers for KL Studio Classics Blu-ray releases Truck Turner (5:13), Delirious (2:22), and Up The Creek (3:16)

A/V Out, suckas.

Get it at Amazon:
 [Blu-ray] | [DVD] | [Instant]

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