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"A genre all by herself" (Voice), Pam Grier tacklesand shacklesher sleekest role yet as the feistier half of a pair of women in chains and on the run in this "colorful, outrageous and truly exciting" action flick (The Hollywood Reporter)! Grier is Lee Daniels, a prostitute doing hard time in an island prison camp for women where the guards have a new way to punish inmates who fight: by cuffing 'em together! Chained to her bitter rival, white revolutionary Karen (Margaret Markov), Lee finds herself literally linked to the revolutionary causeand on the flywhenKaren's guerrilla friends stage a coup! But this foxy inmate's got a cause of her own in the form of a secret stash of cold, hard cash and a getaway boat! Brawling with her white counterpart over which way to go, and tracked like a dog by guards, guerrillas and a gangster after the loot, she's gotta make her escapebefore both mamas' enemies bring them down for good!
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Pam Grier in a women-in-prison movie? Why did no one think of this sooner? OK, they did. Several times. But this one is different. Black Mama, White Mama is a bizarre update of The Defiant Ones with a little Cool Hand Luke and Chained Heat thrown in for good measure. Grier stars as Lee Daniels, a pimp-and-drug-lord's moll who's looking for a way to escape both prison and her thug boyfriend. The dynamic Margaret Markov ably backs her as rich-girl-turned-revolutionary Karen Brent. The two meet in the friendliest Third World prison ever (Tickling games in the shower! What girlish fun!), and before you can say catfight they're chained together at the wrist. A quick prison break later, our feisty ladies are being chased all over the undefined tropical island by the police, revolutionaries, and dueling pimps. Director Jonathan Demme shares the story credit for this one, and his craftsmanship shows--Black Mama, White Mama hits every mandatory facet of the genre, including butt kicking, gunfire, an Evil Lesbian Prison Guard, gratuitously scanty clothing, and dressing up as nuns. Absolutely not to be missed. --Ali Davis
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