Itās a little-known fact that several of the Masked Movie Snobs have a real soft spot for blaxploitation movies of the ā70s. Bolsa de Queso is known to have a special affinity for Blacula and The Disco Godfather. Mil Peliculas and I will routinely get together for āDolenightā where weāll run our own blaxploitation movie marathons, usually featuring the films of Rudy Ray Moore (a.k.a. the ābad, bad Dolemiteā). So when a blaxploitation parody comes along, Iām interested. Unfortunately, as is the case with The Hebrew Hammer, Iām also usually disappointed.
While there is some good material in The Hebrew Hammer, thereās also a lot that isnāt. The story and set-up are rather clever. Santa Claus has been allowing Hanukkah and Kwanzaa to encroach too much on Christmasā seasonal dominance for Santaās evil son Damien to stomach. Damien rubs out Santa and dons the red suit as the new St. Nick, vowing to wipe out Hanukkah once and for all. There are several steps he takes in order to accomplish this, the most clever being the distribution of black-market videocassettes of Itās a Wonderful Life to Jewish kids on the street. Itās up to Mordechai Jefferson Carver, a.k.a. The Hebrew Hammer, to stop him and make the world safe again for minority holidays.
Iām not overly knowledgeable on Jewish culture, and I couldnāt get any of my Jewish buddies to watch The Hebrew Hammer and give me their take on it, so Iām going to review this film strictly as a blaxploitation parody and comedy. As a parody of the blaxploitation genre, The Hebrew Hammer comes up short largely because it seldom remains true to its target. This aināt āDoleSemite.ā Instead, the film seems to model itself more after the likes of Undercover Brother, which is itself more an imitator of Austin Powers than blaxploitation. Thereās one scene in The Hebrew Hammer that feels directly plucked from The Spy Who Shagged Me where Damien attempts to remove all the Jewish mojo-like fluid from the Jewish Atomic Clock. The lack of blaxploitation focus is also apparent when the film briefly breaks into a black and white film noir parody for no other reason than it was the easiest joke to make at that moment.