Boss Nigger

Boss Nigger

To be honest, the reason Boss Nigger attracted my attention in the first place was due to the title. It’s so exploitative I immediately became curious about it. It’s also quite controversial as the word “Nigger” in the title just so happens to America’s #1 trauma word. More than 100 years after the slavery ended it still is food for debates and just recently created an awkward moment in an interview with Samuel L. Jackson who dared a white reporter to say the “N-word”. He didn’t do it and even mentioned that if he did, it would have just been bleeped out. I never lived in America, my country doesn’t have a slavery trauma and in my opinion every word should be able to be spoken by anyone. It’s never the word that’s the problem, it’s the context a word is used in.

Boss Nigger is written by blaxploitation star Fred Williamson who also stars as the titular character. He and his buddy Amos are two black bounty hunters in the old post-Civil War West. When they are in pursuit of one outlaw named Jed Clayton they come across a town that’s visited frequently by Jed but hasn’t got a Sheriff. So Boss Nigger and Amos make themselves Sheriff and deputy to bring some law to the town, though this being the old West the town members are not familiar with taking orders from black folk.

The first half of Boss Nigger is a funny action comedy. Boss himself is portrayed as being quite larger than life, always killing people with one shot. His buddy Amos is the comic relief. Their attitude against white folk makes for some fun scenes, especially when they’ve become the law and protect minorities from actions by white people. The script is quite funny and contains some lines that made me laugh. In the second half the stakes become higher and even Boss isn’t as bulletproof as he previously seemed. Somehow this part dragged too much and could have used some trimming.

I liked the atmosphere of the whole film. Though the poster shows Boss and Amos shooting their guns quite fiercely and the tagline “White man’s town, black man’s law” made me think this was going to be some angry movie against white people, it turned out to be a breezy little flick that without a doubt was one of the many inspirations for Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Williamson has written a script in which the prejudice of white folk in those times is used against them, especially in a fun scene where he’s asked to shine some shoes.

With a title like this the word “nigger” could hardly be left out of the movie. Even the theme song, which is a really catchy tune by the way, blares “boss nigger” out of the speakers. This controversial word is used by basically everybody in the movie, though once they introduce the black man’s law in this town it becomes outlawed. That doesn’t keep Boss and Amos talk about whities/crackers/etc all the time. It works both ways guys!

Boss Nigger isn’t a great movie, but it has its moments. The ending resembles classic westerns like Shane and is one a larger than life figure like Boss deserves.

Boss Nigger
Boss Nigger Poster
Boss Nigger

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