Urban Nightmare (2003)

Wow, I didn’t think they made movies like this anymore…and I wish I was right. Urban Nightmare is a heinous throwback to ’80s cop movies in which all minorities are ridiculously stereotyped criminals, and it’s up the hard-boiled white cop to mop up the streets with ’em. In this way, it truly is an “urban nightmare,” but otherwise the title is ridiculously inappropriate.

Judging from the title and cover art, you’d expect an “urban” horror movie in which the majority of characters — good and bad — are black, but here, the cast is basically 50/50 black and white, and the black characters are ALL bad (with one rotten Latino thrown in for good measure). The most likable black person is a drunken, incompetent driver for a coroner’s office who’s one “yessuh” away from Stepin Fetchit.

The story goes like this: Crazy-eyed gangsta Terrence (Walt Slowe) discovers his grandmother dead in her house one day, but rather than grieve or even call an ambulance, he steps over her body and steals her book of Haitian black magic. He and his homies commence sacrificing victims to the god Natas (Satan backwards! Oh snap!) in order to collect their souls and achieve immortality. His posse invades a strip club and kills everyone, including a stripper — but not before Terrence rapes her (she being white and all).

The stripper’s fiance happens to be doughy cop Johnny Ray, who happens to get his head chopped off by the gang so that they can take “the courageous and righteous soul of a police officer.” Something goes wrong, however, and they piss off Natas, who scolds them about screwing around with the book and warns that the cop will get his revenge. So, Johnny Ray comes back from the dead, reattaches his head, and tracks ’em down one by one. It’s like Robocop, without the “robo.” Instead of Urban Nightmare, it should really be called Zombie Cop, or maybe How to Kill Black People.

How do you release a movie apparently aimed at African Americans and have all of the black people be crudely drawn villains? The blame lies solely with writer, director and yes, star Thomas Breedlove, who plays the intrepid cop trying to stop the brutal gang. The fact that the exploits of Terrence and his peeps (incidentally, named Tyrone, Jerome, Keesha and Shenessa; couldn’t he find room for a Matt or a Kim?) were molded by a white man (not to mention a bad actor who appears to reek of Brut) makes the movie all the more noxious.

Beyond the racial ugliness, the film itself is garbage, poorly written with actors who have all the subtlety of professional wrestlers, and with stiff, overly explanatory dialogue. The lighting and sound are murky — not that there’s anything here worth listening to — and the gore is tame and cheaply done, including the worst instance of cinematic “side stabbing” I’ve ever seen. As the final knee to the groin, the movie ends by implying that there’ll be a sequel with an all new black bad guy. Urban Nightmare 2: The Coloreds Strike Back!

You’d think The Dark Lord could afford higher quality chalk.
“Harry Potter is the shiznit!”
Steve regretted his decision to go to Hearts ‘R’ Us.
“Hold still while I rest this baton gently on your shoulder.”

What do you think?