OK, so this is more of a science fiction movie than a horror movie — hell, it’s more of a public service announcement than it is a horror movie — but damned if it isn’t one of those irresistible “they can’t be serious” train wrecks of a movie that demands to be seen. Although the title and video cover art make King of the Streets look like a conventional gangster film, it’s apparent from the opening scene that it’s anything but.
We begin on an alien planet populated by bearded, Steve Reeves-like humanoids, with a set that feels like an off-Broadway production of Xanadu. Our hero is Buddy (!), played by Brett Baxter Clark (best known as “Nick the Dick” from Bachelor Party), a graduate of the 1980s “tall, dark and hairy” school of sex symbols (Tom Selleck, David Hasselhoff, Lorenzo Lamas, etc.). It seems that Buddy has a coming-of-age mission to undertake: travel to Earth and defeat a “great evil.”
Rather than going after a truly great ’80s evil like Saddam Hussein or the middle school cast of Entourage, however, Buddy focuses on an inner-city pimp and drug dealer named Mr. One (Reggie De Morton). I kept waiting for Buddy to pull out his advanced alien technology and bag Mr. One in one fell swoop, but it turns out his alien powers are relegated to diplomacy, negotiation and wearing polyester jumpsuits. He’s like the Predator equivalent of Jimmy Carter.
His plan basically is to recruit Mr. One’s underlings out from under him and put them on the straight and narrow path. It thus quickly becomes evident that King of the Streets operates in some twisted “After School Special” alternate reality in which a goofy, unarmed white guy can convince a horde of Hispanic gang members to give up their lifestyle. (The racial dynamics are also oddly askew, as all of the redeemable street-level thugs are Latino, while the “evil” upper-level, suit-clad gangsters are black.)
The film feels like a well-intentioned product of someone’s liberal white guilt, but offset by the white supremacist assumption that it takes a white man to show minorities the err of their ways. It’s a testament to the sheer brain-dead ineptitude of it all that it’s still so hilarious to watch.
- IT TAKES A WHITE MAN to teach illiterate gang members how to read.
- IT TAKES A WHITE MAN to get them to band together, gather scrap metal from a junkyard,and build a sports car…FOR HIM.
- IT TAKES A WHITE MAN to convince them that instead of rumbling, they should look at his shiny new car. If you’re good, maybe you can wax it!
- IT TAKES A WHITE MAN to get the newly literate gang members to clean up the ugly graffiti on the walls…and paint “POSITIVE” GRAFFITI such as “Do not murder” and “Be temperate”.
To top it all off, Buddy emerges as a Christ figure (Five letters in Buddy; five in Jesus. Hmm…). He heals the sick, preaches peace and love and eventually “dies” so that others might live better lives. Holy alien cow.