A Low Down Dirty Shame
Andre Shame (Wayans) is a private detective formerly of the LAPD, who left the force after failing to crack the case on drug lord Ernesto Mendoza (Andrew Divoff). The investigation of Mendoza’s case was a personal one for Shame, as his ex-girlfriend Angela (Salli Richardson) was caught in the middle of a love triangle with the two men. Years later, Sonny Rothmiller (Dutton), Shame’s ex-colleague who is now working for the DEA, tells him that the Mendoza case is being re-opened, and though he has his doubts, Shame decides the case is too intriguing to pass on, and tells Sonny to count him in. The situation gets rather complicated when Shame’s old flame Angela resurfaces in his life, and he also realizes that some of his allegiances aren’t what, or whom, they seem to be on the surface.
For some reason, the Wayans brothers are capable of being hilarious comedic actors and decent enough action stars. Take for instance Keenen Ivory Wayans…in A Low Down Dirty Shame, he gives us some laughs, but also kicks ass and takes names, all without sacrificing the quality of the picture. Did the rest of film deserve similar accolades?
What did I like?
Shaft-ish. Shame seems to be a rip-off of Shaft, or at least he is when he shaves his head and puts on the long coat. As a fan of Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft, I thought that maybe I wasn’t going to be a fan, but as it turns out, I wasn’t appalled in the least, but rather it fit the character and tone of the film.
Flame on. There is this gay roommate who is actually the funniest part of the film. Yes, he even upstaged Keenen in the funny department! We all know how funny the gays can be, especially in the early 90s when stereotypes ran rampant, and this is a classic case of that. The stereotypical behavior, though, mixed with this guys comedic timing, make for a great character. It really is such a shame that he died of pneumonia before this film was released. I bet he would have gone on to bigger and better things.
Action comedy. Some films try to mix action and comedy, but don’t find a nice balance between the two. This film doesn’t exactly give us a blueprint for mixing them, but it does do a great job of making the funny parts funny and the action parts exciting.
Eureka. While I didn’t particular care for her character, I have to give props to Salli Richardson. You may know her from Black Dynamite or the TV show Eureka. This film was released in 1994 and she doesn’t look like she’s aged a day. As a matter of fact, she looks like a clone of Pam Grier, but she doesn’t fight like her.
What didn’t I like?
Plot. A corrupt DEA agent working for the bad guy who was supposedly killed years ago. Yes, we’ve heard this story, or at least parts of it before many, many times before. I just wish they would have come up with something more original to throw in the mix. There is only so much of the same old, same old one can take.
Jada. There are very few things I actually like her in. She may be a looker, but as an actress, she is downright annoying. Granted, this character is supposed to be the annoying sidekick, which is fine and dandy, but I think she went a bit too far with the annoying part, at least in my opinion.
All in all, A Low Down Dirty Shame is a pretty good film with plenty of enjoyable moments. This is one of those films that makes you wonder why they don’t them like this anymore. With all the dark, heavy films out there nowadays, it is good to go back and watch something much lighter and just plain fun to watch. I highly recommend this.
3 3/4 out of 5 stars