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Film / Sheba, Baby

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Sheba with her favourite weapon
Sheba, Baby is a 1975 Blaxploitation film starring Pam Grier as Sheba Shayne, a Chicago P.I. and ex-cop. When her father's loan business in Louisville, KY, becomes the target of a mob takeover, she is called back to her old town to help. Her father is more or less accidentally killed when the bad guys are trashing his office. Getting little help from the police, Sheba decides to take the law into her own hands.

First she takes on the local crime boss, Pilot, who is directly responsible for her father's death, and then she goes for the Big Bad, Shark.

The movie follows the same mold as her earlier works Coffy and Foxy Brown, but is considerably tamer, with not so scary criminals, almost no sex or nudity, and (somewhat) toned-down violence.

This film provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Sheba is a crack shot and quite good in hand-to-hand fights. She isn't content to react to the bad guys' violence, but single-handedly takes the fight to their turf.
  • Amusement Park: After Sheba tries to attack local crime boss Pilot outside his apartment building, he and his henchmen chase her through an amusement park. Sheba separates them by running in and out of the various attractions and takes them out (or lets them be caught by the police) one by one.
  • Blaxploitation: The film is a typical example of the genre, with a plot similar to Grier's earlier works Coffy and Foxy Brown, but with less sex and nudity.
  • Cat Fight: After infiltrating a cocktail party on Shark's yacht, for some reason she starts a fight with another female guest. The other guests are standing around cheering them on as they slap and claw each other.
  • Cool Car: Sheba drives a red Mustang.
  • Fanservice: Quite mild compared to Grier's earlier works. There is only one sex scene and Sheba is fully clothed in all scenes but two, but the camera pays a lot of attention to her face and curvy body.
    • The cat fight on board Shark's yacht ends with Sheba pulling down the top of her opponent's dress and exposing her bra.
    • In her final attack on the yacht, Sheba swims there wearing a skintight wetsuit. She later attempts to seduce Shark by pulling down the zipper and showing off her breasts (she's wearing a bra or bikini top underneath).
  • Groin Attack: When held captive by Shark, Sheba distracts him by flashing her breasts, and then kicks him in the groin.
  • Improvised Weapon: In the final boat chase, Sheba tries to shoot Shark with a sub-machine gun but runs out of ammo. She then graps a harpoon gun which happens to be lying in her boat and shoots him with that.
  • Pimp Duds: Even though he's not involved in the sex trade, small-time loan shark Walker (who runs a pawn shop from the trunk of his car) dresses like a stereotypical Hollywood pimp, in a checkered coat with matching trousers and a feather in his hat.
  • Private Detective: Sheba is a partner in a PI firm in Chicago, but this plays no part in the movie. Once she decides to go vigilante, she's acting outside of the law.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: In the climax of the film, when the police are approaching Shark's yacht and his henchmen try to keep them off with automatic weapons, Shark escapes in a speedboat, pursued by Sheba.
  • Vigilante Woman: Since the police lack resources to help protect her father, Sheba decides to serve her own justice to the bad guys. When her father is killed it only strengthens her resolve.
  • What a Drag: When Pilot has become a liablity to Shark, his henchmen drag Pilot not after a car, but after a speedboat, eventually drowning him. They are planning the same fate for Sheba, but she escapes by cutting the line.