Director(s): Andy Diaz Writer(s): Andy Diaz Starring: Andy Diaz, Magic Juan, Sadat X As much as I’ve ragged on the short-lived Spartan Entertainment in the past, I’ll give them credit. For the most part the urban films that they released were almost always above and beyond what was coming out of companies like York Entertainment […]

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Harlem Blues

Director(s): Andy Diaz
Writer(s): Andy Diaz
Starring: Andy Diaz, Magic Juan, Sadat X

As much as I’ve ragged on the short-lived Spartan Entertainment in the past, I’ll give them credit. For the most part the urban films that they released were almost always above and beyond what was coming out of companies like York Entertainment during the time period. Whereas York was releasing Thug Life and Throw Down, Spartan was releasing amicable efforts like Harlem Blues.

Sure, it’s nothing remarkable, but Harlem Blues has a coherent storyline and was filmed with a DV-camera that would’ve cost a few thousand dollars at the time of its completion. That’s when you know a genre is a mess; when I have to give a film credit for being able to follow a simple storyline.

Ishmael has just been released from prison after serving a few years in connection to falsifying documents. When he gets out he’s ready to be responsible, as he’s working at his father’s liquor store and preparing for a comeback in boxing. But those same old forces, included rapper Magic Juan as a thug, begin to try and pull him back in. He meets an abused prostitute that brings him hope, but the thugs are in it for themselves over his own happiness.

There’s plenty to dislike about Harlem Blues, such as the boxing flashbacks, but there’s also a lot that I can praise. The script actually contains characters that show human qualities rather than the same old rubbish that has been used for years. Director Andy Diaz actually puts effort in, and it shows. I could’ve done without him being cast in a vital role, as he’s a pretty bad actor, but so are most of the actors in the film.

Worth a watch if your video store is still holding onto a copy.
DVD: A bland, but informative, commentary track with director Andy Diaz.

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Harlem Blues, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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