June 12: Junesploitation’s topic of the day — as suggested by F This Movie— is prison! We’re excited to tackle a different genre every day, so check back and see what’s next.
Leon Isaac Kennedy made Body and Soul, a movie for Cannon in which he got Muhammad Ali to show up as himself. In the second of three boxing in prison movies, Mr. T and Archie Moore do the same, appearing as their real world selves in this near comic book of a movie. Then again, Mr. T feels like a movie character in our real world most of the time.
Martel “Too Sweet” Gordone (Kennedy) has earned his parole from jail by winning a prison boxing tournament, so you should forget anything about this movie taking place in the universe we accept as our own.
He moves in with his sister and her husband while getting a job sweeping floors at a boxing gym. He wants nothing to do with the ring, staying on the outside, content with his life as a free man. “Too Sweet” even hooks back up with Clarisse (Eugenia Wright) but that’s when this movie decides that he’s had things too easy, because the enemy from the last movie who tried to assault him — physically and sexually — at every turn, “Half-Dead” Johnson (this time played by Ernie Hudson) has broken out. On a rare night that his sister and her husband go out, the lovemaking between our hero and his lady turns into a horror movie when “Half-Dead” locks her in a bathroom and treats her like he wanted to treat “Too Sweet,” who responds by beating the man into oblivion and leaving him near brain-dead with his head in the toilet.
This movie defies film logic, because “Too Sweet” gets destroyed in his first pro match back — yes, it takes his lover’s death to make him fight — by Jesse “The Bull” Amos (Donovan Womack), it’s the fact that he won’t get knocked out that makes him a star. At the same time that his career is on the rise, the rest of “Half-Dead’s” gang is targeting “Too Sweet’s” family.
To add even more weirdness, you’d think the hero would be the one to get revenge on the villain, who attacks him before his big fight. Nope. It’s Mr. T who saves the day.
This is also a movie that starts with a way too long Star Wars text that made me laugh out loud.
Director and writer Jamaa Fanaka made every movie in this series, as well as Street Wars and Welcome Home, Brother Charles. I am excited to report to you that if you thought this movie was strange, Penitentiary III goes even further, existing in a world beyond your wildest boxing prison movie dreams.
You can watch this on Tubi.