Baadasssss! [Special Edition] [DVD] [2003]

Director Mario Van Peebles' lovingly made homage to his legendary filmmaker father Melvin Van Peebles' career-defining independent feature Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song arrives on DVD in fine form from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. Presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, the image is generally stable despite some minor evidence of edge-enhancement. Colors are evenly balanced and blacks solid. Audio is presented in closed-captioned English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and rings through clearly without any distortion or hiss. Optional French, Portuguese, and Spanish subtitles are also accessible. For those who know and love the film that inspired Baadasssss!, Columbia TriStar has opted to include some truly captivating bonus materials that involve both generations of Van Peebles. A lively and informative audio commentary track features both Melvin and Mario, opening with the father giving his son's film a heartfelt blessing and going on to discuss the numerous parallels shared by Baadasssss! and Sweetback. Of course, Melvin offers a wealth of information regarding the production of his pioneering film, and it's fun to hear the interaction between father and son as they discuss their experiences making each other's respective films. A featurette entitled "The Birth of Black Cinema" puts Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song in a historical perspective through interviews with such filmmakers as Michael Mann, Ossie Davis, and John Singleton as well as Melvin's original crew, and it also discusses the political climate that fed the need for such a film with such figures as Bill Cosby and Melvin Van Peebles biographer Sandra Ruch. Footage from the premiere of Baadasssss! finds the cast and crew discussing their experiences making the film, and a half-hour-long question and answer session with Melvin gives the filmmaker ample time to discuss his career leading up to Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, the need for more complexity in black film, and the revelation that his original film is actually a springboard for a trilogy that has since never been completed. The session is very informative, with Melvin fielding numerous questions from the audience before wrapping things up. A collection of poster art for Baadasssss! offers some impressive artwork, and a handful of previews for other Columbia TriStar titles round out the features nicely.
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Special Features

  • Commentary with Mario and Melvin Van Peebles
  • Featurette: "The Birth of Black Cinema"
  • Featurette: "The Premiere"
  • American Cinematheque Q & A with Melvin Van Peebles
  • Poster explorations
  • Previews
  • Closed Captioned


In 1971, filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles released his third film, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, which he wrote, directed, and scored. Despite boasting an all-black cast, an X rating, a low budget, and a decidedly non-Hollywood approach to moviemaking, the ground-breaking independent film went on to gross over ten million dollars while inspiring countless other films of the genre that would come to be called blaxploitation. Mario Van Peebles, the director's son, was 13 at the time and got his first taste of show business with a small role in the film. Over three decades later, the younger Van Peebles directed and co-wrote this film, in which he stars as his father. BAADASSSSS! chronicles the director's struggles to get the film made by highlighting the social roadblocks and production pitfalls Van Peebles faced, as well as the personal sacrifices he was forced to make. Also starring T.K. Carter, Ossie Davis, and Nia Long, BAADASSSSS! premiered at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Mario Van Peebles
    Mario Van Peebles - Melvin Van Peebles
  • Khleo Thomas
    Khleo Thomas - Mario
  • T.K. Carter
    T.K. Carter - Bill Cosby
  • Ossie Davis
    Ossie Davis - Granddad
  • Nia Long
    Nia Long - Sandra
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