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Baadasssss! (Special Edition)

43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Dramatizes Melvin Van Peeble's struggle to make the first truly \independent" film"

Baadasssss! is actor-writer-director Mario Van Peebles's best film since 1991's New Jack City; more accurately, it is a mature and often dazzling work beyond previous expectations of Van Peebles' skills as a filmmaker. Certainly he was inspired by the autobiographical subject: The making of his father's 1971, independently produced Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, in which young Mario made his acting debut amidst a frantic, high-pressure operation that paid off when African American audiences embraced the film. Playing his ownhard-nosed dad, Melvin Van Peebles, the younger talent explores--honestly, but not ruthlessly--Melvin's rocky relationship with an ever-disappointed Mario (played by Holes' Khleo Thomas), but he also portrays the elder man as a stubborn idealist against a backdrop of Hollywood cynicism about black entertainment. The film is a whirlwind of action and innovative scenes recreating personal history but without the insistent discursiveness of memory. With Nia Long, Ossie Davis, and Saul Rubinek. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • "The Birth of Black Cinema" featurette
  • "The Premiere" featurette
  • American Cinematheque Q&A with Melvin Van Peebles
  • Poster explorations

Product Details

  • Actors: Mario Van Peebles, Nia Long, Joy Bryant, Ossie Davis, T.K. Carter
  • Directors: Mario Van Peebles
  • Writers: Mario Van Peebles, Dennis Haggerty, Melvin Van Peebles
  • Producers: Bruce Wayne Gillies, Dennis Haggerty, G. Marq Roswell, Jerry Offsay
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French, Portuguese
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002JZT50
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,976 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Baadasssss! (Special Edition)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. Burns on October 26, 2004
Format: DVD
There are some movies that fascinate you only by what's happening on-screen, and then there are movies like Baadasssss! (and Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives) that get you thinking just as much about what in the hell is going through the director's mind. I imagine a lot swam through director/star Mario Van Peebles' head as he portrayed his own father, Melvin Van Peebles, in this gritty tale about the making of the 1971 black cinema landmark, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. In Baadasssss!, Van Peebles portrays, thanks, skewers, criticizes, and analyzes his father all while a great true story unfolds before your eyes. This is interesting stuff.

By the time the '70's rolled around, it seemed that African Americans were out of the worst of it, but still had a long way to go when it came to the world of cinema. Baadasssss! opens like an assault on the senses, a wild musical score grooving in the background, Van Peebles narrating in a cool baritone, and images of offensively cliched blacks thrown onto the screen. Back in 1970, Melvin Van Peebles was the token black director, who had just penned a comedy called Watermelon Man, but this time wanted to do something different. Something radical. Something "serious as cancer," he says. A story about a badass rebel brotha' who grew up in a brothel and got laid at 12, grows up to brutally beat two white police officers who harass and assault another black man, and then goes on the run...well, you can imagine what the old fat white men at Van Peebles' production company would have said. But he doesn't care - Van Peebles wants this movie made, so he goes independent.

There's a great scene in the beginning of the film that reminded me of the opening hotel room sequence of Apocalypse Now.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2004
Format: DVD
"Baadasssss!" tells the story of making "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song", Melvin Van Peebles' 1971 independent film that created the "blaxploitation" genre and put independent cinema on the economic map. "Baadasssss!" is based on Melvin Van Peebles memoir and directed by his son, Mario Van Peebles, who acted in "Sweet Sweetback" as a 13-year-old and was present for the duration of that film's making. Whether "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" was a good film or a bad one is still a point of much contention. Melvin Van Peebles intended to make a movie that reflected the experiences and attitudes of real black Americans at a time when Hollywood was ignoring popular culture and counterculture altogether. Sweetback is no more an average Joe or realistic character than the later blaxploitation heroes would be. But the film's energy and message must have been true-to-life, as it became the biggest grossing independent film of 1971 and went on to make over $15,000,000.

"Baadasssss!" is an entertaining film with a terrific ensemble cast that not only tells the story of how the first blaxploitation film came to be, but also creates a terrific sense of the culture that spawned "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" and of the relationship between father and son that grew as "Sweet Sweetback" was made. This is one of the best films about filmmaking that I have seen and is sure to appeal to fans of movies about movies. Director Mario Van Peebles pays homage to his father and "Sweet Sweetback"s cast and crew by making a well-written, funny, interesting movie about them and by making "Baadasssss!" in much the same fashion that his subjects made history.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joanystar on June 26, 2004
This is one of the best movies I've seen in a long time. It's the story of Mario van Peebles' father making the first "Black" independent film in 1971. It's funny, dramatic, touching and intense! And, all at the same time! It had a limited run in LA and NY and opens around the country on June 25th. It will open in more cities in July and August.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nita on January 3, 2005
Format: DVD
I was very hestitant to pay $9.00 at the movie theatre to see this film after seeing the original movie " Sweet Sweetback Baadass Song" by Melvin Van Peebles. Though I am a hugh fan of African American Cinema of the 70's, that was one movie I just could not get into. Mostly throughout the film, all you see is the Elder Peebles(Melvin Van Peebles) running from the Po-Pos. I was lost entirely after watching that film because the film was to have supposed to be about him finally standing up to the white man, demanding respect and better treatment, not running from him.

Now the remake "Baadasss" by his son Mario Van Peebles was definately a much better film. Mario Van Peebles plays the Elder Peebles (His dad). This film shows how he and his son handled the setbacks in trying to complete and bring his first independent film to the big screen in which started the Blaxplotation Era . After watching the rental copy of "Baadasss" I was really impressed with this film. It was very well written, exciting, and it's definately worth adding to the movie collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Gyurisin on September 26, 2004
Format: DVD
Ever wonder what it would be like to make your own film without a studio to support you and no money in the bank to fund it. Well, thankfully Mario Van Peebles' father forged ahead in the 70s with a dream and passion like no other. While Hollywood was content with making pictures that negatively depicted African Americans, Melvin Van Peebles decided to break this cultural norm and change the face of cinema.

With no budget, money from friends and drug dealers, and a non-union crew, Melvin created the impossible. He grabbed a hold of an idea and let nothing get in the way from accomplishing it. Melvin had a dream of making an African American the center of the film, one that took no sass from anyone and criticized the modern white Government. While big studios backed away from this project, Melvin jumped forward made Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song. There were trial and tribulations to get it done, but thanks to a very surprising source the film became a success. It was the first independent film to become the number one film in America.

Similar to the passion seen in Melvin's eyes when he is making his low-budget film, Mario portrays that exact same involvement when making this low-budget film. What I loved about this film is that there is so much raw, unbridled emotion behind Mario's eyes that you can tell that he 1) loves his Dad and 2) wanted to show America the truth behind this innovator's life. This is Mario's past, and he superbly reenacts it on screen. He carries this film, showing us the many facets of his father. He shows the angry American, the independent talent, the powerful leader, and even the emotional parent. Through all of this Mario continues to keep this film focused and interesting. We cannot keep our eyes off his portrayal of his father.
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