February 25, 2019  (Web Review)

Gone Crazy

IndiePix, 73 min., in Zulu w/English subtitles, not rated, DVD: $24.95

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

In the 1970s and ‘80s, South Africa saw hundreds of “blaxploitation” B-movies made for the apartheid nation’s black audiences. While blaxploitation movies in America included the likes of Shaft and Superfly, the African films were a series of cheaply made potboilers produced by white men and distributed to black churches along with a sheet and projector. Gone Crazy is a 1983 Zulu-language thriller about a madman who seeks revenge for his dismissal from a government job, stealing a bomb and threatening to blow up a dam. It seems slightly irrelevant to describe Gone Crazy as laughable for its awkward pacing, silly props (the bomb looks like a child’s alarm clock), wooden acting, and cartoonish action shots. Quality wasn’t really the goal, but rather giving black audiences in South Africa something they hadn’t had before. Despite its rampant amateurishness—a mayor, a police chief, and a private detective enjoy a leisurely coffee break while discussing the urgency of catching the would-be bomber before he drowns an entire town—there are moments of basic filmmaking wisdom. Director Tony Cunningham may be mostly graceless behind the camera, but he does put together a decent climactic suspense scene. Optional. (T. Keogh)