Synapse // 1978 // 87 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 17th, 2010
A '70s Blaxploitation Classic!
Yes. That's what the exuberant tagline claims. From the South Africa film industry comes this tale of a group of vigilante crimefighters known as "War on Crime." These guys hunt down and murder bad guys, much to the consternation of the fossilized police force.
As the cops try to track down these violent do-gooders, a journalist falls into their line of sight. He's Steve Chaka (Ken Gampu), a committed new reporter who seems to have the inside scoop on the War on Crime's shenanigans. Steve's best pal is Lt. Ben Deal (Nigel Davenport), an officer trying to piece together the mystery and he cant' help but think that maybe Chaka is involved somehow. Meanwhile, some shaggy hippie shoots a bunch of people,
Death of a Snowman is sort of an awesome name for a 1970s action movie, but it pales when compared to the film's other aliases: Soul Patrol and Black Trash. Wow...Now those titles hold the promise of some righteous, raucous trash, don't they? Join that with the sweet disc case art and the expectations for a good time exploitation jaunt should be pretty high.
Don't believe it. Death of a Snowman is lethally boring. If you notice, I talked about a news reporter teaming up with a crusty detective in the synopsis and that's pretty much what you can expect throughout the runtime: typing and cop glowering.
Sure, some dudes get a couple of rounds in the noggin here and there, but to utilize the term "action packed" anywhere near a summation of Snowman means that the English language has ceased to mean anything.
The pitch in the case synopsis is that it features "outrageous violence, erratic editing, a funky disco soundtrack and a jaw-dropping dubbing." Let's run the checklist: the violence is not outrageous and fairly tame actually, the editing does suck, there are moments of funky disco and the dubbing is bad but my jaw did not drop.
Sorry guys. If you're looking for primo South African grindhouse trash, you won't find it here.
Synapse's DVD: a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, mono sound and the original theatrical trailer.
Not Guilty. No one will mourn this Snowman.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.66:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Not Rated