Abar

  • 1977
  • 1 HR 30 MIN

A bizarre, low-budget and obscure blaxploitation/sci-fi hybrid in which a militant black street activist gains super powers that he uses to aid the embattled residents of L.A.'s Watts community. Dr. Kinkade (Art Jackson), a brilliant black doctor engaged in some mysterious research, moves his family — beautiful wife Bess (Roxie Young) and preteens Tommy...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A bizarre, low-budget and obscure blaxploitation/sci-fi hybrid in which a militant black street activist gains super powers that he uses to aid the embattled residents of L.A.'s Watts community. Dr. Kinkade (Art Jackson), a brilliant black doctor engaged in some mysterious research, moves his family — beautiful wife Bess (Roxie Young) and preteens Tommy and Debbie — to an upmarket house in an all-white neighborhood. The racist neighbors freak: Uptight Mabel from next door first refuses to believe the doctor and his wife aren't the Kinkades' household help, then mobilizes the community against them. When Kinkade refuses to sell his new home, local bigots stage hateful protests, strew garbage on the sidewalk, kill the family cat and attempt to beat up Kinkade on his own front steps. Meanwhile, back in the ghetto, Abar (Tobar Mayo) hears of the Kinkades' travails and, with the motorcycle-riding revolutionaries of FBU (Front for Black Unity), offers to throw a scare into the honkies. He also reads Kinkade the riot act, calling

him a sellout who's sucking up to whitey while abandoning his less-fortunate brothers and sisters in the 'hood. Many fruitless consciousness-raising sessions follow (Abar's voice-overs accompany lengthy, running time-padding shots of blighted black neighborhoods), but Kinkade clings to his color-blind American dream until he is, inevitably, pushed too far. Little Tommy is murdered and Bess walks out, taking Debbie, so Kinkade unveils the secret serum he's been concocting in his basement. He doses Abar, who becomes invincible and able to quell domestic violence, pacify racist police and make street hookers turn on their pimps, all by the power of his mighty mind. And then it's payback time. The film's rock-bottom budget is nowhere more apparent than in the (admittedly canny) decision to make Abar's super powers telepathic — the entire effects budget seems to have been spent on a scene in which he transforms an insufficiently soulful spaghetti repast into worms — though the generally amateurish acting is also a dead giveaway. The '70s fashions and décor are a retro riot, as is the whucka-chukka, whucka-chukka soundtrack.

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