Monday, May 14, 2012

Ghettoblaster (1989)

 A scan of my VHS copy of Ghettoblaster
Ghettoblaster (1989)
Director: David DeCoteau
Starring: Richard Hatch, Del Zamora, Diane Moser
Format: VHS (Applause Home Video)

Travis (Hatch) is a single dad who returns home to find his old neighbourhood is now a ghetto overrun with gang violence. When Travis' father is killed by The Hammers, a ruthless Latino gang run by Jesus (Zamora), he takes over the family store and tries to resist their standover tactics. But of course that's never going to work, and after more witnessing and becoming victim to more violence he finally takes a stand, becoming a one-man vigilante force.

So it's all pretty predictable, but one nice plot point is that Travis is ex-army, specialising in urban warfare tactics. This allows for some interesting guerilla-style attacks (an exploding ghettoblaster is especially fun) and some lame TV-style antics (dressing up as a clown to infiltrate a drug deal at a park).

The bad guys aren't going to stand for that, so they kidnap Travis' daughter, setting up a final confrontation with The Hammers. Of course there's also a love interest, predictably the sister of one of the gangbangers, Gina (Diane Moser). It's just a shame there's so little chemistry between Hatch and Moser.

Ghettoblaster would be a yawnfest if wasn't just so 80s. The Beat Street-esque rap music, the fashions, the lack of true grittiness... all of it makes Ghettoblaster feel like an extended episode of a Stephen J. Cannell show, but with nudity, swearing and violence thrown into the mix. The violence is for the most part quite tame, but there is a rather nasty drive-by shooting of a young kid in the opening scene.

Richard Hatch isn't overly impressive as an action star, but he's likeable enough. I grew up watching him on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and have always liked him as an actor, so getting to watch him in his own action movie was a treat. The rest of the cast does an adequate enough job.

Ghettoblaster is definitely worth a watch, particularly if you're of my generation and grew up watching Richard Hatch and 70s/80s TV shows.


Explosive Action said...

Tops film, one of my earliest reviews too. I still need the VHS, but the AU and UK ones are cut and the US one not easy to find.

The Goodkind said...

Nicely done sir, a rare and worthy find indeed. As I mentioned to Explosive a couple of weeks ago, I just finished my own write up of Ghetto Blaster for a magazine. Serendipity I guess. Keep it up.

fletchanator said...

@Explosive Action... I wonder what was cut? My copy seemed to have all the boobs and blood intact.

@The Goodkind... Thanks for the comment, what magazine was your review for?