When a pair of bickering prisoners (Pam Grier and Margaret Markov) make their escape, they end up on the run – but they’re handcuffed to one another. Resentful of each other, they’re forced to work together. Like Cameron and Clegg, only sexier.
Let’s start with the title – Black Mama, White Mama is a great name for a film. At least, it’s a great name for this film. It wouldn’t be such a great name for, say, the new Bond movie. But this 1973 exploitation film squanders its promising premise, with a movie that’s not funny, engaging or… anything.
On paper, Grier and Markov could be the best black and white pairing since Michael Jackson. But the reality is closer to Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. A true screen icon, Pam Grier’s breakout role would come a few months later in Coffy. In this case though, her hair is the strongest aspect of the movie.
Like most ’70s exploitation cinema, the focus is on sex, violence and boobs. So far so good – but we need some bearing on reality. It’s not even clear where this is meant to be set. Once they bust out (excuse the pun), they seem to be on an island inhabited solely by nuns, gunmen and lesbians. Maybe it’s that insane island from Lost.
With shoddy direction, editing and acting, the film appears to have the production values of a porno – and not a very good one. You’re better off watching the conceptually similar South Park episode Super Fun Time, in which Butters and Cartman have to make it back to the school bus holding hands.
Boasting an early story-writing credit for Jonathan Demme of Silence of the Lambs fame, this is a criminally poor entry into the women-in-prison sub-genre. Who’d have thought a film called Black Mama, White Mama could be so boring?