Posse [1993]

Mario Van Peebles directed as well as starred in this ham-fisted, 1993 Western with a predominantly African American cast. The story finds a posse of black shooters (with one white member, played by Stephen Baldwin) taking on a racist sheriff and military man, but Van Peebles's effort at mixing convention with hip credentials gets pretty grating. (Tone Loc makes the worst cowboy in film history.) The film is also incredibly sexist, going well beyond the usual frontier-floozy clich├ęs and lapsing into the sort of blatant exploitation one found at that time in rap-music videos. There are lots of cameo appearances from familiar folks willing to support Van Peebles on a project that probably sounded like a mix of experiment and event--Pam Grier, Isaac Hayes, Woody Strode, and the director's father, Melvin Van Peebles. But even they can't help. --Tom Keogh

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