Hammer (1972) (Blu-ray Review)
Directed By: Bruce D. Clark
Starring: Fred Williamson, Bernie Hamilton, Vonetta McGee
Rated: R/Region A/1:85/1080p/Number of Discs 1
Available from Olive Films
Former football player Fred Williamson (M.A.S.H., Black Caesar) brings his athletic prowess and acting chops to the role of B.J. Hammer in the street-smart, action pic Hammer. A boxer on-the-rise, Hammer is asked to throw a fight by the local Mob who have figured prominently in his success. His moral dilemma hits close to home when the life of his girlfriend, Lois’ (Vonetta McGee, Blacula, The Eiger Sanction) is put in jeopardy. Rounding out the Hammer cast are Bernie Hamilton (The Swimmer, TV’s Starkey and Hutch) and William Smith (Any Which Way You Can, The Frisco Kid) in the Bruce Clark (The Ski Bum, Galaxy of Terror) directed film.
It might as well have been Blaxploitation month over at Olive Films, because they are unleashing the who’s who of all Blaxploitation films with their releases. Taking a break from the world of Foxy Brown and Coffy, where we have a female lead, we are now introduced to Hammer! A film starring Fred Williamson and is another take on the old tale of a boxer who is asked to throw a fight, but simply doesn’t want to throw the fight. That leads into a whole heck of a lot of trouble for our “Hammer” here. He is basically living in a world that is being taken over by the mob and pretty much everyone he knows is owned and controlled by someone. That doesn’t set well with the sure to be champion, Hammer. And when he is pushed to the limit is when we get the best out of Williamson and his character he plays here. He fits the part and he is all you could ask for in a strong lead, which is good because a strong lead is where Hammer could live and die if the lead didn’t fit the bill. The drama and action both pick-up in the film and is makes for a fun watch overall, even if the movie isn’t what anyone would call perfect.
The movie packs a lot of stuff I’d call very good, but not overly great. We get stuff like fighting action, we get car chases, we even get that nice Blaxploitation humor that makes most Blaxploitation films all the better. There is good old school and then there is just old school films. This is in the “good” old school class, but I admit that I don’t know if I’d say it has the same spark as some other films of the same genre. A good boxing tale is somewhat hard to find. This movie came before stuff like Rocky and there is a whole lot more going on during the movie than just boxing, but take ease in knowing that at least things here in Hammer never get boring and you don’t find yourself checking your watch while you watch it. While our leading Hammer take the bait and take the fall? Or will he take the title that is surely his and then take the fight to the bad guys? You’ll have to watch Hammer yourself for those answers, but I don’t think you will be wasting your time at all by watching.
Quality of Transfer: 90%
Screenshots from WhySoBlu