Sheba, Baby (1975)

Rating: **
Review Date: 7/28/14
Cast: Pam Grier, D'urville Martin

Sheba Shayne (Pam Grier) is a private detective in Chicago. When the mob starts leaning on her father's business, she decides to get involved and push back. An escalating pattern of violence emerges, as Sheba tortures and kills anyone who gets in the way of her tracking down the leader of the gang. After all of the bad guys are dead, she heads back to Chicago alone and broken hearted (and curiously without any vigilante murder charges against her).

This film has all of the elements that I like about female action cinema, but the execution is a bit bland. It's certainly no "Coffy" (1973) or "Foxy Brown" (1974), although it desperately wants to be. Pam Grier is fantastic throughout. She's tough, beautiful, and independent, and has no problem with shooting people, starting fights, and terrorizing criminals. Her attitude and conviction are right on the money, and she's delightful to watch. The only problem she seems to have is that she's easily disarmed, and she laughably loses her machine gun several times before she gets a chance to use it. Luckily, the bad guys are too stupid to actually use it on her. While Ms. Grier looks great, her 70's fashions aren't particularly flattering and you can tell that the film was made on a lean budget. The weak execution also reeks of mainstream sensibilities, which reduces the overall impact. However, there's one extremely dangerous looking car stunt that's very impressive, so I have to give the filmmakers credit for that.