Plot: The mafia has an iron grip on Watts, making sure the locals are funneling cash into gambling circuits and other seedy, illegal operations. At collection time, the mobsters are brutal and merciless and if anyone tries to speak out, they’re struck down to make an example for the others. But the mafia doesn’t stop there, as the thugs also rough up those who don’t gamble, often out of nothing more than racial bias. This oppression of Watts has led to the formation of the People’s Army, a group of like minded, fed up blacks who want to take back their homes and businesses. While the group does some good, some feel that it doesn’t go far enough. Tired of inaction, Colonel Kojah (Charles Robinson) founds a protection squad that will be more proactive, going after those who prey upon the blacks in the area. This sparks an all out war between his faction and the mafia, but in the end, who will control Watts?
Entertainment Value: As you should be able to tell from the title, The Black Gestapo is all about using racial tension to provide shocks and exploitation, but this isn’t just a black/white narrative. The story begins with a clear focus on the local blacks against the white mafia in the area, but soon shifts into a conflict within the People’s Army, as to how the group should handle the situation. Some want a direct, violent approach and others want a more above board handling of the issues, so there is a definitive divide and that leads to immense tension. As serious as that all sounds, the movie wasn’t designed to inspire real social change, just drive-in cinema fun and some big chunks of exploitation. The pace is brisk and there’s nice bursts of violence, sleaze, and colorful characters, so it is a fun watch. Rod Perry has the lead, but he is often overshadowed by Charles Robinson, who is a blast to watch as the over the top Kojah, while the rest of the cast is fine, if forgettable. This is obvious race bait cinema, but it has most of the genre bases covered and for fans of blaxploitation or social panic flicks, The Black Gestapo is worth a spin.
The movie has numerous brief, but still welcome flashes of sleaze, mostly fleeting topless scenes. But there’s also some full frontal nudity at times, so fans of bush should be pleased. There’s also an interesting scene with several fully dressed black men in a bathtub with a naked white man, but it is more about violence than sleaze. This is because that scenes involves a castration and while nothing is shown, it is a wild scene and deserves a mention. The rest of the bloodshed is fairly frequent but non graphic, from bullets, fist fights, and such. The movie has some fun action scenes, including a very cool “jungle combat” sequence in the finale, with traps and hidden shotguns, quite a nice conclusion. The dialogue is mean spirited and loaded with all kinds of not so casual racism, certain to offend some viewers. In addition to the racial banter, we have tough guy talk, inspirational social rants, and plenty of misogynistic elements, so a nice mix of nastiness here. On the craziness side, aside from the mean spirited nature there’s not too much wackiness here. The movie does have a memorable scene where Nazi audio is pumped in over a black militia gathering, however.
Overall Insanity: 1/10