Wild and wooly is the best way to describe the new action-packed western, POSSE. While director and star Mario Van Peebles takes bits and pieces from some excellent westerns of the past, he manages to add a touch of his own in the form of black history in the Old West. POSSE tells an intriguing story and, like hero Jessie Lee, doesn’t back down from any fight. A narrator opens the film telling of his youth in the western frontier and the legend of gunfighter, Jessie Lee. Haunted by dreams of the murder of his father (by the Klan, we learn in flashback), Jessie is looking to tame his demons and settle the score. There is little redemptive value in this tale, only revenge. The bad guys well deserve their bloody fate (and Jessie Lee gets them all, one by one), but violence is not the vehicle for justice or peace.
Mario Van Peebles handles starring and directing roles quite well. The photography is great, the filming is excellent and the music is fresh. However, what could be a good, old-fashioned western is unfortunately overshadowed by excessive violence, obscenities and nudity. Add to that the heavy revenge trip with no real remorse or redemption and we have a film that cannot be recommended. As Jessie sends the last of his father’s murderers to his death he says, “When you get to Hell, tell ’em Jessie Lee sent you.” Scripture reminds us that God alone is the ultimate Judge, not Jessie Lee.
(PC, H, LLL, VVV, SSS, NNN, A/D, M, B) Politically correct humanism; 6 profanities & 55 obscenities; bloody gunfights, brutal beatings, murder, explosions, & hanging; promiscuity, prostitution & graphic fornication; nudity (male & female); alcohol (in western bar scenes); gambling, theft & revenge; biblical principles of peace, love & forgiveness are talked, about but not illustrated; and, one man dies defending his friend.