It’s the 70’s baby and things are swinging, flares are flaring, moustaches are large, shirts are loud and hairstyles…well, best we forget them. Also around at this time were a whole series of movies that became known as Blaxploitation. Sheeba, Baby isn’t one of the best known of these, but is it worth watching?
Pam Grier stars as the titular Sheeba, Sheeba Shayne. She’s a private detective who is called home after her father is beaten up in a raid on his loan shop. The gangster responsible wants to own all the loan companies and car sales places in the region. Sheeba’s father, Andy Shayne, played by Rudy Challenger (Harlem Nights, Hit Man), wants to fight the gangsters on his own, Sheeba comes home to ‘lend a hand’.
Let’s kick things off by saying the transfer, the quality of the Blu-ray is just brilliant, especially when you consider this was shot in 1975. Colours are vibrant, things are clear, it’s much better than I would have expected. The movie does have the feel of an episode of CHiPS or Cagney & Lacey however and the story is flimsy at best.
The acting is a little, well, it’s not great. It seems like a lot of the time the actors have been told to wait a few seconds before the begin so after every cut there’s an awkward moment. The dialogue is full of bitch and nigga so those of you easily offended should probably steer clear.
However, for any flaws you can find in this film they can be forgiven for numerous reasons: Firstly, there’s the amazingly funky 70’s soundtrack. There’s the classic ‘start low and zoom upwards and close’ shots that were the staple of the 70’s. There’s the overdramatic deaths of everyone, the very obvious staged fight scene endings, people being knocked out with a punch to the stomach and the shoot-out pieces that Naked Gun used to take the piss out of, where everyone is really close but misses all the time.
All of this just adds to this films charm. In the grand scheme of Grier films it comes low down on the list against the likes of Foxy Brown, Coffy etc, however it’s not a bad watch and the quality of the Blu-ray is fantastic.
Sheeba, Baby is out now to purchase with the following special features:
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
- Original mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Audio commentary with producer-screenwriter David Sheldon, moderated by critic Nathaniel Thompson
- Sheldon: Baby – a brand new interview with David Sheldon
- Pam Grier: The AIP Years – a look over the wonder years of the Blaxploitation queen with film historian Chris Poggiali
- Gallery featuring rare publicity images and Lobby Cards
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Sean Phillips
- Booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Patty Breen, webmaster of WilliamGirdler.com, illustrated with archive stills and posters