Director: Rene Martinez
Vinegar Syndrome

Vinegar Syndrome and the American Genre Film Archive rescue the Florida-lensed Blaxploitation obscurity SUPERSOUL BROTHER from oblivion with their DVD release.

Hustlers Bob (singer Benny Latimore) and Jim (Lee Cross) have already sunk six thousand dollars into Dr. Dippy's (Peter Conrad, Tobe Hooper's THE FUNHOUSE) experimental super-strength drug with unsatisfactory results and a looming deadline for their diamond heist. The mouse Dr. Dippy has injected make mincemeat out of a feral cat only to expire itself within a week. Unless Dippy and his comely assistant Peggy (Joycelyn Norris) can find the right combination and proportion of chemicals to create a neutralizing agent, any human subject will likely suffer the same fate. Since neither Jim nor Bob is willing to be a guinea pig, Bob figures that the best solution is to pick up some expendable wino from the ghetto to take the drug, make off with the loot, and then it will not matter what happens to him. Said wino turns out to be put-upon Steve (standup comic Wildman Steve, PETEY WHEATSTRAW) who reluctantly submits to Peggy's thorough exam ("This lady thinks my asshole is a tunnel of love!") and is rewarded by Bob with a swingin' pad and a hooker dressed as a maid (Addie Williams) for to cook for him and wash his butt. Despite the necessity of buttering Steve up, Dippy insists that the subject must not have sex or eat after midnight to be in top form for the injections. The trio deems frigid Peggy capable of making sure Steve takes his vitamin supplements and gets adequate rest without any shenanigans. Peggy, however, falls heels over head for Steve and steps up her efforts to find the neutralizer when she learns that Bob and Jim plan to get rid of Steve after the heist.

SUPERSOUL BROTHER was the last of three films lensed by Florida filmmaker Rene Martinez which also included the rape-revenge film ROAD OF DEATH (with DEEP THROAT's Carol Connors) and the prior Blaxploitation film THE GUY FROM HARLEM. It is bottom-of-the-barrel in terms of production value, technical quality, music (the end titles theme song is almost mumbled by its "performers"), and acting (apart from comic Wildman Steve who rambles on throughout his scenes with more than a little political incorrectness). The action is contained to about four statically-photographed locations, but the decrepit ghetto Miami exteriors have a strangely authentic atmosphere. The execution of course does not live up to the potential of its premise, and the staging seems simultaneously rushed and lazy; and yet, SUPERSOUL BROTHER is cheap fun if you're in the right kind of mood (like I was when I took this in on a lazy Sunday morning).

Scanned in 2K from the American Genre Film Archive's 35mm theatrical print on its last legs – and bearing the title THE SIX THOUSAND DOLLAR NIGGER (no surprise why Vinegar Syndrome went with the alternate title) – the progressive, anamorphic transfer is full of lime green vertical scratches, dings, dents, and action jumping splices (including one that snips the latter half of Steve's first feat of strength). The Dolby Digital 1.0 track similarly suffers from the splices dropping dialogue right and left. A post on Vinegar Syndrome's fan page on Facebook details some of the dialogue and bits of truncated action utilizing Xenon's 1996 VHS release under the SUPERSOUL BROTHER reissue title (although Vinegar Syndrome has formed a partnership with Xenon to release a number of their titles, they evidently do not possess the original materials for this edition anymore). There are no extras whatsoever (a trailer might have been neat given the ballyhoo of other Blaxploitation teasers). (Eric Cotenas)