Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Night at the Moview Week 17 - Detroit 9000

" It's the murder capital of the world.  And the biggest black rip-off of the decade, and a white cop squeezed in the middle."

Good film to end the month on.  Directed by Arthur Marks, yeah, him again, Detroit 9000 stars Alex Rocco, better known as Moe Greene, as Lt. Danny Bassett and Hari Rhodes as Sgt. Jessie Williams.   In a nice role reversal, Bassett, the white guy, is the street smart cop while the black guy is the well educated by the books cop.  These two wouldn't normally have anything to do with one another, but after a near half-million is stolen from a political fundraiser, it's up to them to solve the crime.

There are obstacles along the way.  The press, with their constant meddling, are determined to turn this into a "black/white" thing.  Could the honkies have ripped off the black politician, hoping to keep him down, or could fellow brothers have pulled the job in hopes of blaming the honkies.  It's pretty damn tricky.  Especially when it's learned that the good politician might not be such a fine fellow after all.  I know, I know, crooked politicians are done to death, but it always makes for decent motive when crimes are involved.

Bassett and Williams are good cops.  Through decent detective work, they follow up the leads and go about actually solving the case, twisting through many dead bodies, prostitutes,  all leading to a rather lengthy shootout, and a smart twist at the end.  Only problem with the shootout was about 5000 bullets were fired, and maybe six or seven actually find the target.  I guess they don't train the rest of the force that well in Detroit.  But the twist, that was nice. 

Besides Rocco and Rhodes, there are some good roles for the supporting actors.  The actors hold their own, especially Scatman Crothers as Reverend Markham.  He's charasmatic as hell, and steals almost every scene he is in.  Vonetta McGee, Ella Edwards, Herb Jefferson Jr. and Rudy Challenger also make the most of the parts they have.

But what makes the movie worthwhile is the story.  Orville H. Hampton wrote a solid script, with very few moments that don't hold up under scrutiny.  Everything happens for a valid reason, leading to a very satisfactory viewing experience.  Detroit 9000 isn't as flashy as other films in the blaxsploitation drama, but as a police procedural it works quite well.


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