Imagine if Rudy Ray Moore possessed the charisma of a DMV clerk and didn’t tell jokes—then you’ve got an idea of what to expect from Solomon King, a vanity project from cinematically incompetent Oakland, California, clothier Sal Watts. A doughy dude with a forgettably affable quality, Watts cast himself as a secret agent-turned-private detective who navigates international intrigue and romantic entanglements. Specifically, the insipid plot puts Solomon King (Watts) in danger when Princess Oneeba (Claudia Russo) flees from the Middle East to the Bay Area while avoiding operatives of a villain named Hassan (Richard Scarso). Years earlier, Solomon helped Oneeba’s father out of a jam and was rewarded with ownership of oil fields, so Hassan apparently stands to gain from not only Oneeba’s death but also Solomon’s. Most of Solomon King comprises the usual blaxploitation noise of fights, sex scenes, and vignettes showcasing Black life circa the early ’70s. (There are a lot of dance parties in this picture.) Although Solomon King—which Watts produced, cowrote, and codirected—has cinematography on par with most low-budget ’70s sludge, what sinks the picture is abysmal editing. The story often hiccups incomprehensibly, atrocious voicever gets used to cover scenes with unusuable production sound, fight scenes are comically inept, and sex scenes drag on forever. Still, there is some so-bad-it’s-good fun to be had here. For example, the movie’s absurd climax finds the hero and his Green Beret buddies (!) laying siege to Hassan’s Middle Eastern palace, which for some reason looks like a Nazi bunker somewhere in Europe. During the climax, Solomon dubiously complements his all-black commando outfit with a shiny pimp hat and an even shinier medallion. You do you, man! FYI, this picture earned a smattering of attention in mid-2022 when a crowdfunded restoration was completed. A debut airing on TCM Underground followed a few months later.

Solomon King: LAME

Contact Me