I don?t usually write my own reviews, but since I couldn?t find one I liked, here are my thoughts:
This oddball, hard-to-find blaxploitation flick is the only film directed by Shaft alumni Christopher St. John. It is also one of the most surreal, packed with art-house pretensions that go horribly, hilariously wrong. While Top of the Heap has all the great wacka-wacka guitar, over-the-top dialog and bad-ass attitude we expect from blaxploitation, it goes the extra mile, seriously trying to send a powerful message. Instead, the films desperate attempts to artistically raise our consciousness leave the audience pissing its pants with hilarity.
Officer Lattimer (St. John) is caught between racist white cops and low-life black scum. White cops who see him on the street hassle him and don?t believe he?s a cop, while the criminals he busts don?t take him seriously. His home life is a shambles, and his mistress is whacked-out on god knows what. Lattimer fills his hellish life with ridiculous fantasies/flashbacks/flash forwards of life as an astronaut, a jungles dweller, and more.
The film has some truly outlandish stereotypes (in one scene, the criminals are actually doing drugs, talking about picking up welfare checks and eating fried chicken, all at the same time!), but the real reason to watch is its howlingly funny earnestness. Much as Glen or Glenda mesmerizes because of Ed Wood?s sheer desperation to make the viewer understand the plight of the cross-dresser, Top of the Heap astonishes due to its desperate attempts to engender racial understanding in the form of low budget, art-house nonsense. Top of the Heap is a fascinating failure. It amazes me that it is so hard to find.
The rip was sourced from the ancient Unicorn Video.
File Size: 896 MB
Subtype: OpenDML (AVI v2.0),
Video Codec Name: XviD 1.1.2 Final
Width x Height (pixels): 512 x 384 =[1.333:1]
Video Bitrate: 169
Frames Per Second: 23.976 fps
Compatibility: B-VOP , ,
Audio Codec: 0x2000 (Dolby AC3) AC3
Audio Bitrate: 256
Audio Channels: 2
Interleave/Preload (ms): 96/96