Plot: B.J. Hammer (Fred Williamson) was a dock worker with limited advancement, but now he has access to numerous opportunities. Hammer is a skilled athlete and since he is good with his hands, he has earned a chance to become a prize fighter. Big Sid (Charles Lampkin) is the promoter of the boxing matches, but he is also a drug dealer and involved in countless other criminal operations. Once he is working for Sid, Hammer starts to see his reputation on the street sink, as people know Sid’s crooked ways. Even a police detective tries to get Hammer to see how Sid is a bad man, but Hammer sees the money and a chance at a better life. So from the start, Hammer is conflicted and torn between finally having some success and standing up for what he knows is right. Sid plans to cash in on Hammer’s meteoric rise by having him throw a fight, but will Hammer resist the corruption, even if Sid threatens what he holds dear?
Entertainment Value: Hammer is a solid vehicle for star Fred Williamson, who flashes his smile and turns in a smooth performance. Williamson is a legend of blaxsploitation cinema and while Hammer is more grounded than some of his other films, it still holds up as good entertainment. I would have liked more emphasis on the crime angle instead of the boxing, but that’s just personal preference. The cast is strong even outside of The Hammer, with Bernie Hamilton, Vonetta McGee, and in a small but memorable role, D’Urville Martin. William Smith is impressive here as the ruthless enforcer, giving off cold, ice water in the veins vibes. Hammer tells a solid story and is never dull, thanks in large part to a gifted cast. Good production values, good cast, and a good amount of drive-in fun, so Hammer still packs a punch.
This movie has several girls without their tops on, adding to the fun. None of the nudity is lingering outside of a hypnotic, strange dance sequence. A shower scene teases both male and female nakedness, but that pesky shower door obscures the good times. Hammer has some blood too, including some pretty well crafted makeup effects during the final boxing showdown. Williamson’s face is beat up and the effect looks quite good. There is also a murder by car, some shootings, and a face through a car window, so not a ton of blood, but some red stuff is present. The writing provides ample dialogue to quote, but the highlight for me is Hammer’s ex girlfriend going on a wild rant as he packs to leave. Hammer isn’t a crazy movie at all really, more of a solid picture that tells a solid story. Even so, even casual fans of blaxsploitation will want Hammer in their collections.
Overall Insanity: 1/10