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Bad Movie Review: The Zebra Force (AKA Code Name: Zebra / Commando Zebra)

December 13, 2019


‘Let’s be serious for a moment now.’ Welcome back to my Dark Corner of this Sick World. ‘Fire away, baby’ 1976’s The Zebra Force opens in a mob run casino, ‘Fix ain’t as easy with the coppers like in Detroit’ and then Michael Caine’s the doors off. Despite the music…. I’m not sure how heroic these guys are, randomly spraying the room with bullets, but it’s certainly got the guy in the corner petrified… Almost literally. But who are these gun-toting vigilantes? ‘There were 8 black guys, that’s all I know’ But… were there? ‘You may remove your disguises and clean up’ Flashback to Vietnam and Zebra Force, If you can’t get the A-team, then the Z team is 26th best thing available. Their commander is badly injured, And… ‘In the 18 months I spent in the hospital I had time to conceive the idea of your disguises’ A year and half of thinking, then it hit me; black guys. ‘After all, they’re looking for black guys and here we are as white an ivory snow’ And what with us being Zebra Force – black and white; get it. And that’s a theme that runs through the movie. ‘You know, this is like the old days when we were fighting the cong’ Blacked up then as well huh? Although we do have to address the fact it’s clearly neither mask nor make-up they’re just played by black actors in those scenes. And when they take the masks off… ‘Hey you wanna shine? I really give a good shine’ Not that convincing. ‘Black guys are like phantoms’ The mob aren’t going to take these continued attacks lying down, There must be a mole and they have a good idea who. ‘The only black man we’ve got in the organisation’ But he comes from a bad part of town. ‘If this guys as tough as you say and the neighbourhood’s as bad as he is then a hundred guys won’t do any good’ Oh this is going to be rough. I mean that swimming pool isn’t even Olympic standard. This film lays bare the disparity in our society. ‘And because they’re black, you come down here to me’ This misunderstanding triggers a mob war between the moustaches and afros, and is played out in a series of clumsily intercut conversations. ‘It’ll all be over in a couple of hours’ The mid-section of the movie is almost completely devoid of action, except for one typically understated Zebra Force raid. ‘Here catch this’ Things get moving again as black gangster, Lovington is killed. So far as the moustache mobsters are concerned, the gang of black guys is taken care of, ‘If they aren’t Lovington’s men we can expect some more trouble from them’ If they aren’t Lovington’s men, why did you kill him? Zebra force now hits the mob leader in his palatial home, using their tactical skills. I have no idea how they got on the roof. And apparently they can just back a van-full of armed men up to the house, because why would there be guards on the gate? Despite these spectacular advantages one of their men is captured. ‘It’s a white guy’ Well that changes… nothing. ‘Maybe’ Although they’ve executed multiple successful operations against the mob for money, Zebra Force has no intention of going back for a friend, ‘Throw out the cash and I’ll give you this punk back’ Keep him! We’re fighting our way out. Only the commander and 2 of his men survive, but there’s a final twist. Hands up if you can guess where this is going, ‘Boy, black is beautiful, baby’ Once again this changes nothing, but let’s get a flashback explanation. Why are you sculpting me? That’s just weird. ‘John I’m not going to make it’ ‘I want you to go ahead with our plans’ but… ‘Promise me.’ ‘They won’t follow me’ Oh well now it makes sense. ‘Promise me’ ‘I promise’ He seems pretty smug at the end, ‘You better hustle baby, because you is in the ball game now.’ But unless I’m missing something, the commander did not say ‘promise to get all my men killed’ Thanks for watching. For new reviews every Tuesday subscribe here. The black and white theme in Zebra Force is just a gimmick affecting nothing, what are your favourite gimmick-driven movies? Let us know in the comments below. ‘Please mister don’t shoot…’

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