Years before The Blues Brothers
, this film set a standard for futile police chases involving the humorous destruction of unbelievable numbers of police vehicles in almost-pratfall
-like manner. And the target of this police chase? A motorbike
. That is, a motorbike being ridden by a two-headed man (as well as a regular one-headed man). In sum, a motorbike with a total of two men and three heads disposes of fourteen police cars.
Really, I suppose, any review of the film ought to focus on the fact that there's a two-headed man running around, and how he got that way, and what becomes of him. In this case, the body in question originally belonged to our protagonist, a black death row
inmate named Jack Moss, played by famed NFLer Roosevelt 'Rosey' Grier
. Moss jumps at the chance to participate in a "scientific experiment" in order to buy time to prove his claim of innocence
. But what he can't know is that this experiment will be the attachment of a second head on his broad shoulder -- the head of a mad (in both senses) scientist, Maxwell Kirshner, played by character actor Ray Millard, who had seen better days. Kirshner is seeking to trade up from a failing, cancer-ridden body, and plans to eventually "take over" the body of the transplantee and do away with its original topper. Naturally, Kirshner is, as well, a racist
, none too please at the shade of the body he's been attached to, and a quick purveyor of snarky comments about watermelon
-love and whatnot to his unfortunately assigned head-mate.
But Moss's original head comes with a strong enough will to fend off the growing control of this new head over the body, and he escapes from the confines of the laboratory in an effort to reunite with a certain lady friend and get her help in beating his murder rap (or, just plain escaping). Enter the skulking around, searching for a way to remove the second-head burden, and spending an inordinate amount of screen-time running from a gaggle of cop cars. The ending is predictable, as Moss ends up getting away (although he is not exonerated of the crime
) after having a person with the requisite medical knowledge leave Kirshner's head in a jar
, angrily demanding yet another new body.
There were a few holes in the story, one being that a mad scientist demanding his assistant get him "a body" would be at all surprised and upset to discover the body gotten is that of a black man. Given the desperation of the urban plight (especially in the 1970s), death row would seem to be the first scenario from which "a body" for the purposes of this "experiment" could be got. Really, it's the scientist's own fault -- he could've been more specific about his preferences there. A young Roger Ebert
reviewed this when it first bowed, in 1972. The summation of his review is:
The publicity for the movie warns against the possibility of "apoplectic strokes, cerebral hemorrhages, cardiac seizures or fainting spells" during the movie, but they're just trying to make themselves look good. The only first aid they really need is hot coffee for the patrons who doze off.