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Blu-ray/DVD Combo Review: THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN and LADY COCOA!

Those awesomely awesome folks over at Vinegar Syndrome are at it again; this time bringing us an outrageously entertaining double release featuring THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN and LADY COCOA!

THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN

WRITTEN BY: Mikel Angel
DIRECTED BY: Matt Cimber
STARRING: John Daniels, Eli Haines, Tom Hankason

THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN concerns the adventures of The Baron; a laid-back pimp with a cool @$$ ride. As the flick begins we see two racist cops trying to trap The Baron with an undercover officer dressed as a woman that is about as convincing as Uncle Milty in drag. Much wah-wah sax ensues.

After that non-sequitur we see The Baron rescue on of his “girls” from an abusive relationship before meeting up with the ultimate pimp caricature named Dusty Compton. The two then engage in a rousing game of billiards for ownership of a new working girl – yeah; it was a different time folks; a cartoony, over-the-top, awesome as all get-out time. Dusty of course loses and blames the white cue ball. I love this film.

Well ol’ Dusty doesn’t take losing lightly and uses his mob connections to try and take out The Baron – who of course escapes by blasting his way to freedom courtesy of the machine guns hidden in the headlights of his tricked out Rolls Royce. He then hands the woman he won a sack of cash and sends her on her way. I really love this film.

We then learn The Baron is only in the pimpin’ game part time; the rest of the day he’s a married family man (they think he’s a traveling insurance salesman ‘natch) in the suburbs living a Norman Rockwell style existence.

Before long The Baron is up to his rakish fedora in violence as he takes on the mob, the cops, and even the owner of the massage parlor he runs his business out of (although that inexplicably turns into a slapstick comedy).

I can’t sing the praises of THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN enough. If you love the outrageous, comic book antics of DOLEMITE over the more sedate action of SHAFT then this is the film for you; it’s colorful, absurd, and completely of its time – in other words; it’s Grade-A, rad-@$$ awesomeness of the highest caliber!

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While THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN makes this 110% worth owning, you do get a second feature in this release (also by director Cimber); namely:

LADY COCOA

WRITTEN BY: Mikel Angel
DIRECTED BY: Matt Cimber
STARRING: Lola Falana, Gene Washington, Alex Dreier

In snowy Nevada, Lady Cocoa finds herself holed up in a luxury hotel/casino; a virtual prisoner (as opposed to the actual one she is as the film opens) of an aging Police Lieutenant and a beat cop charged with keeping her alive long enough to testify against her racketeering criminal boyfriend.

After much whining from L.C.; she is allowed to gamble, shop, and have dinner with a couple of groovy newlyweds. Seems prosaic enough right? Well wouldn’t you know it, Cocoa’s boyfriend is none too pleased with the thought of her spilling the beans so he sends out a couple of hitmen (one of them a silent Mean Joe Greene) to make sure her tongue stops wagging permanently.

Less over-the-top than THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN; LADY COCOA is nevertheless immensely entertaining as well. The emphasis here is more on character interaction and dynamics rather than near cartoon-like characters and violence; but there are outrageous elements at play as well such as a car chase featuring said vehicle driving through the casino and into a pool and a bathroom shootout. A few other items make this a stand-out in the Blaxploitation genre as well; namely the location and the score.

Utilizing the snowy locales of Lake Tahoe; LADY COCOA has a visual sense unlike any other film in the genre (whose locales were more often than not large urban areas). It gives to proceedings an odd; almost surreal quality.

As for the score; it boasts a rousing re-working of Pop Goes the Weasel (the film??s original title) performed by Falana herself; but the soundtrack contains an instrumental version of the song that plays a few times too many.

Unlike THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN (whose sole extra in an introduction by Director Cimber); LADY COCOA features a full commentary track by the same. Informative, lively, and packed with anecdotes; this track was one of the more enjoyable I have ever heard (and the conversation turns to include discussion of THE CANDY TANGERINE MAN as well.

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If you dig on flicks like DOLEMITE or SUPERFLY, or are curious as to just why the drive-ins of the 1970’s were so damn cool, then this is the release for you (you can grab a copy right here!); colorful characters, outrageous situations and preposterous fashion choices make for a great night’s viewing indeed!

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