Robin Givens is sexy but not much of an actress. That doesn't matter in Rage in Harlem because she is surrounded with a wonderful cast consisting of Gregory Hines, Danny Glover and Forest Whitaker.
Set in the mid 50s, framed with the music and dance of the era, Givens is part of a gang in Mississippi who steal enough raw gold to fill a travel trunk. Following a shoot out she escapes to Harlem with the trunk of gold. For safety she takes up with a quiet young man who is an accountant for an undertaker. The young man, Forest Whitaker, is easy prey for Givens' sexy advances and he puts aside his evening prayers as she converts his virginity. His half brother, Gregory Hines, learns of the gold and sets out to get his share.
Dancing to the 50's music in private Harlem clubs, led by the very skilled Hines, is reminiscent, smooth and sensual. There is a relaxed sexual overtone throughout the film, particularly in the house of blue light which is run by Hines' best friend. Whitaker is contrast is religious and quiet. It is his performance as a determined young man in love that drives the film. Look for the story about his mother and Jesus. It is the contrast that creates a very funny, scrambled comedy.
The film only dulls out when it attempts to resolve itself with some seriousness. It is well worth seeing but be ready for some violence with the comedy.
|Rage in Harlem||B+||B+||B+|