Directed by: Fred Williamson
Starring: Fred Williamson, Ice-T, Gary Busey, Ron O'Neal, Jim Brown, Bernie Casey, and Gloria Allred
"Nobody Escapes The Streets."
Willie Jo Harris (Derrick Franklin) is a young, star basketball player on the rise. His dad Frank (O'Neal) is very proud of him. But he did a stupid thing. He bought some drugs from local hood Slim Jim (Ice-T). Now he owes him a lot of money. But some goons dispatched to kill him accidentally got the wrong house and kill the wife and son of Rex Stevens (Casey). Harris asks Dakota "Dak" Smith (Williamson), an ex-cop, golf enthusiast, and private eye, for help. Now old buddies Frank, Rex and Dak have to team up to fight the gangsters and corrupt cops. One of the main targets is the ruthless assassin Felix (Busey). Will these "Original Gangsters" be able to take down the baddies and win the day?
Also it is worth mentioning that Jim Brown is on hand as Chad Grant (doesn't he just look like someone named "Chad"? Come to think of it, Bernie Casey doesn't scream a guy named "Rex", so there you go), an ex-football player who runs "Challenges" Community Center. Not typecasting at all. And none other than Gloria Allred has a small role as "Councilwoman Gloria Johnson". I guess she has to get herself in front of a camera at all costs. ALL costs. Where else would Dakota go for info about the streets?
Director/Star/Co-Writer Williamson corraled his old pals to appear in one last blast, and sadly, it was the last appearance of Ron O'Neal. As we've mentioned before on this site, "never have a last movie". Williamson has a nice anti-crime/drugs message here, in what can only be described as a "neo-blaxploitation" (or neoblax, for short) film. It seems to be an attempt to marry the old-school blaxploitation style of the 70's, with the newer, direct-to-video brand, represented by such titles as Dead Homiez (1993), State Property (2002), Paper Soldiers (2002), etc. Unfortunately, it has a cheap, junky feel to it, and in many scenes, the dialogue is nigh-impossible to hear because there is also some rap music blaring on the soundtrack, and it actually drowns out the actors. And don't try to turn up the volume, because the overly-loud music comes with it. So while we want to hear what The Hammer is saying, instead we hear the jam "Everybody Wants To Be A Gangsta". Luckily, it is my jam. But it just seems like a blatant attempt to "be cool" and stay hip with the kids. We, the audience, know Williamson, Casey, Brown and O'Neal don't listen to this "rap-music noise".
There are some entertaining and funny things about On the Edge, not the least of which are Willie Jo Harris' hair, Ice-T's absurd suit, the usage of the (years-old by this time) "Whhaaazzzzuuuupppp?" - I assume that's how you spell it, and the presence of Gary Busey. Sure, he's not using his classic word he pioneered in Bulletproof (1988), "Butthorn", but luckily he has a great mixed-metaphor line with: "This has all the makings of a setup...but I'm holding the ace." And if you've ever wanted to see Busey do a drive-by shooting in the same movie as Williamson's classic "Fred-Fu", this is the movie for you.
But the true headline for On the Edge should be "Bernie Casey with a rocket launcher". 'Nuff said.
Inexplicably ending with the word "Gone!", On the Edge is notable for its cast of lovable favorites, but it might be wise to stick with the more classic-era Fred Williamson titles.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty