Tuesday, Sep 2020
Director: Mario Van Peebles
Length: 111 minutes
Released: 1993

posse posterLike many Westerns made in the 1990's Posse begins with action and rarely slows to catch its breath. There is no building toward a final shootout because there is shooting all of the movie. The film is directed by and stars Mario Van Peebles as Jesse Lee, the buff hotshot guided by the remembrance of the life lessons taught by his father. He is also haunted by visions of the horrible end his father met. Lee is accompanied by his hommies from the Spanish-American War. They are a diverse group that includes a Steve Urkel-like dude used for comic relief. Unfortunately, the character does not approach the genius of Urkel. The always cleaned and pressed group smells of new leather more than seasoned cowboys. Some scenes are filmed in slow motion, perhaps because the assorted leather ware was so stiff that fast, graceful movement was not possible. Also, bothersome is some of the actors need to hang on to the saddle horn when riding. Something a riding lesson or two might have eliminated. Yet some of the scenes work. This may be due to the fact that they are lifted wholesale from classic westerns. The viewer can watch Posse and play a game made popular by the Scream movies or the Simpsons. That is, one can guess the movie that made the scene famous. Posse borrows from several films in this way. Is it a tribute or simply a lack of originality by Mario?

The movie is narrated by an old cowboy just as Dustin Hoffmans' character did in Little Big Man (1971). And in one street shoot out, Lee is filmed from behind, between his legs, as he assumes the famous Gary Cooper, High Noon pose. The crews wardrobe is ever-changing and fresh, leaving the viewer wondering who's doing the ironing. In one scene, Lee dons attire clearly taken from Clint Eastwood's Fistful closet.

Posse lacks originality, but it is not for that reason that it is placed here on the Rough Riders page. Posse's sin is that it pretends to make some sort of historical statement on race relations. The movie begins with text about the number of black cowboys in the old west. It ends in a similar fashion but adds wording about how little property blacks own in present day America. The message is simplistic and obviously tacked on to the film to evoke emotion. Something the shallow characters were unable to do during the movie.

Cast:

  • Mario Van Peebles.... Jessie Lee
  • Stephen Baldwin.... Jimmy J. "Little J" Teeters
  • Charles Lane .... Weezie
  • Tom 'Tiny' Lister Jr.... Obobo
  • Big Daddy Kane.... Father Time
  • Billy Zane.... Colonel Graham
  • Blair Underwood... Carver
  • Melvin Van Peebles.... Papa Joe
  • Salli Richardson.... Lana
  • Tone Loc....Angel
  • Pam Grier.... Phoebe
  • Vesta Williams.... Vera
  • Isaac Hayes.... Cable
  • Richard Jordan....Sheriff Bates
  • Paul Bartel.... Mayor Bigwood
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