Stick it to The Man: Black paranoia is usually right in there. There’s usually this conspiratorial thing that The Man is plotting your doom. There’s a lot of real blaxploitation movies that involve a plot to exterminate black people. It’s a constant storyline. In these movies, white people spend 95% of their time coming up with plots against black people.
White people by the pool: Every one of those [’70s blaxploitation flicks] depicted white people beside a swimming pool. We actually had that scene, but we cut it. A lot of times they were older character actors.
Speed over quality: A lot of the time you had your money and you were getting this movie done no matter what. In ‘Black Caesar,’ an actor had a mike cord wrapped around his leg in one shot, but they just kept going. Stuff stays in the movie. They had one, maybe two takes, so if the boom mike snuck in there, they left it.
Vietnam: The blaxploitation era sprung out of the post-Vietnam time, where the brothers were not treated right in Vietnam and they came back to no jobs. A lot of the heroes were cats who came from Vietnam and had soldier-type skills that they used to take down The Man or clear the streets of drugs.
Ex-football players: In blaxploitation, an ex-football player was automatically an actor. He was the equivalent of the rapper today. There was even a movie called ‘Black Six’ that was just six football players and that was how they advertised it. They even sold the players’ team position in the trailer.
Sex: The movies were always sexually charged. It was the ’70s and the sexual revolution time.
Kung fu: Martial arts is a big thing in blaxploitation movies and that [includes a] love affair with kung fu. A lot of the blaxploitation heroes didn’t know kung fu, but they wanted to try the moves anyway.
The awkward love scene: These football players were told to act all tender with a woman on camera and they always seemed uncomfortable. When they had these moments, you could see them pushing to get there.
The convenient back story: Anything you wanted the hero to be, he was. The CIA was in the story? The hero used to be in the CIA. Orphans were in trouble? The hero had been an orphan.
The exploding car off a cliff: Cars always exploded for no reason.
Bad physics: When somebody got shot, they would often fall the wrong direction.
Random theater actors: You had really terrible actors alongside these theater actors trying to be drug dealers, but they’d over-enunciate everything.