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"Ashanti" is Working Through a Major Identity Crisis Review

Dr. David Linderby (Michael Caine) is a naïve, idealistic humanitarian traveling through Africa with his wife Dr. Anansa Linderby (Beverly Johnson) and vaccinating entire villages. During one of their trips to a remote village, Anansa is kidnapped by slave traders and forced to march across the Sahara desert. Her kidnapper Suleiman (Peter Ustinov) plans to sell her off and make enough money from the sale to retire from human trafficking. David only has a few days to track down Suleiman and save his wife before she is sold off and disappears forever. He enlists the help of Brian Walker (Rex Harrison), a man with connections to mercenaries, as well as bounty hunter Jim Sandell (William Holden) and Malik (Kabir Bedi), a man seeking to take out Suleiman once and for all.

The biggest problem with Ashanti as a film is that it can't decide what kind of movie it wants to be. Tonally, it is a very mixed movie. Some scenes feel like they belong in an exploitation revenge flick like Tarantino's Django Unchained or Kill Bill, while in other scenes it acts like a “Message Movie” with dialogue used to shove in facts about modern day human trafficking. The movie really goes off the rails when a child sex slave, who is being raped by one of the slave owners, steals supplies to make a Voodoo doll and murders his rapist. It is difficult if not impossible to take the movie and the subject matter seriously when a bad guy is murdered with Voodoo, and human trafficking is a subject that needs to be addressed seriously. Ashanti might want to be a Message Movie about human trafficking like 2010's The Whistleblower, but everything about this movie from the acting to the steamy cover art screams Exploitation.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

Special features include the film's theatrical trailer and an extended interview with Beverly Johnson.

"Ashanti" is on sale December 11, 2012 and is rated R. Action, Adventure, Drama. Directed by Richard Fleischer. Written by Stephen Geller. Starring Beverly Johnson, Kabir Bedi, Michael Caine, Omar Sharif, Peter Ustinov, Rex Harrison, William Holden.

Jan
28
2013
Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.

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