(Mario Van Peebles, USA, 1993)


Posse has undeniable curiosity value.

Director and star Mario Van Peebles has fashioned a proud African-American Western – complete with a pedagogical lecture on the forgotten place of blacks in the Old West.

The film has fun with its righteous mission, casting Stephen Baldwin as the nervous token white man in an otherwise all-black posse, and ringing a few downtrodden Indians into this Brotherhood of the Oppressed.

Having made a tough comic-book fantasy out of the urban crime genre in New Jack City (1991), Peebles here does the same with the Western. Every gesture and plot move is outlandishly melodramatic, with the camera mostly cocked at a 45 degree angle.

Lacking the rigour and purity of a Sergio Leone film, however, Posse is for the most part an ungainly mess, full of loud characters for whom one could hardly care less.

But stick around for the final credit sequence, which has terrific footage from old B Westerns with titles like The Bronze Buckaroo.

MORE Van Peebles: Baadasssss!

© Adrian Martin January 1994

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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