Directed by: Bill Cummings
Starring: Leon, Demene Hall, Nathaniel DeVeaux, and Gina Lim
Eddie Johnson (Leon) is a Seattle Cop On The Edge and motorcycle enthusiast. Due to his rogue ways, he’s busted from detective back down to beat cop. While out on routine patrols with his partner Midge (Hall), they slowly start to unravel a criminal conspiracy involving local street preacher Ezekiel (DeVeaux), and his assistant, former prostitute Mai Lei (Lim). After getting romantically involved with Mai Lei, Eddie is told to turn in his badge and gun. Now he’s going rogue after the mysterious villains in a black van. Will he be able to unravel all the goings-on?
Well, finally Leon gets to step out of the shadows and into a starring role. “Leon who?”, you may ask, but it’s just Leon. No one seems to question his lack of last name. Like Madonna or Cher, Leon can step proudly into the pantheon of one-named stars. His co-star Demene Hall tried to give him a run for his money, appearing in the opening credits as simply “Demene”, but perhaps she found it too “Demene-ing” and appears in the end credits with her full name. Mysterious naming issues aside, Bad Attitude, unfortunately, is an unpolished, stilted, cliche-ridden production. All that would be fine, but this movie has a D.O.A., or “Dearth Of Action”. There’s almost no action in the entire movie. What a waste! Really, what a waste. It should have been Leon on his Harley shooting bad guys left and right. Sadly, the movie is a bunch of unmemorable setups to action that never arrives. A true wasted opportunity.
We appreciate that this was trying to be a more serious-minded movie with a largely Black cast, seemingly on purpose attempting to separate itself from the average “homie movie”, or even 70’s-style Blaxploitation movie. We can almost see director Bill Cummings saying “why can’t this be just a movie, without any racial tags?” But this was to be Cummings’ only directorial effort to date. But Bad Attitude, in the final analysis, lacks drive - it’s slow paced, and has pacing problems on top of that. There’s no title song (although there is a song by Steel Pulse during the end credits), and Leon doesn’t even do any Leon-Fu on the bad guys.
DeVeaux does a decent job as the snappily-dressed Reverend, and Gina Lim, in also her only movie role to date, plays the token hot chick well (but if truth be told she is a bit mannish, especially her voice). Plus, you can tell Leon’s level of attitude (“bad” or otherwise) by his hair part. At first, he has a pretty extreme, conservative part, but as he goes further into rogue territory, the part changes and eventually disappears altogether. An alternate title for this movie could be “Rogue Hair Part”. Also, on T-shirt alert, characters wear shirts for the bands Blood Feast, Negative FX and the Butthole Surfers. It doesn’t mean much, just an observation.
In the end, Bad Attitude is a misuse of Leon and seems to be hampered by its low budget. Wags might suggest the movie would be better off if they took the word “Attitude” out of the title, but we’d just file this one under “wasted opportunity”.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty