Watch Now: THREE THE HARD WAY
A year after director Gordon Parks introduced the world to Shaft (1971), his son Gordon Parks Jr. made his directorial debut with the successful, albeit controversial, neo-noir crime drama Super Fly . In 1974, just five years before tragically dying in a plane crash at the age of forty-four, the aforementioned director helmed the action blaxploitation film Three the Hard Way . With a screenplay written by Eric Bercovici and Jerrold L. Ludwig, Three the Hard Way follows a record producer, a Chicago businessman and a martial artist as they team up against white supremacists whose aim it is to poison the U.S. water supply with a chemical that adversely affects only black people.
The main characters are played by Jim Kelly, who was a black belt martial artist himself, Fred Williamson and Jim Brown, both former NFL players. Just a year after the release of Three the Hard Way , the three actors co-starred in Take a Hard Ride , which could be considered the film’s Western sequel of sorts. And in 1982, Williamson brought the acting gang back together again, when he took it upon himself to write, direct and produce One Down, Two to Go which starred all three of them, with Williamson proclaiming it the true sequel to Parks Jr.’s exciting and fun blaxploitation flick.