Trouble Man (1972)

Rating: ***
Alternate Title: Detective G
Review Date: 4/12/18
Cast: Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, Bill Henderson, Julius Harris, cameos by Gordon Jump, Jeannie Bell

"Now, get out. The two of you are fucking up a nice day."

Mr. T (Robert Hooks) is a tough private detective who is popular with the ladies and has a knack for getting things done. He runs his business out of a billiards hall that's managed by his friend Jimmy (Bill Henderson), and proves himself to be an expert pool player when he's challenged by a young punk named James "Texas Blood" Brown. In addition to shooting pool, acting as a bail bondsman, and looking into unsafe apartment buildings, T is approached by a couple of shady gangsters to help with a problem they're having. Unfortunately for T, it's an elaborate set up to pin the blame on him for a gang war with Mr. Big (Julius Harris). But T isn't your run of the mill patsy, and he manages to turn the tables before the cops can bust him. And after that, it's all about revenge.

It's a straight forward and thoroughly entertaining action film, driven by a strong and charismatic performance by Robert Hooks. He's a smart, tough, sensitive, good looking, and well dressed man who commands respect, makes the ladies swoon, and instills fear in anyone who crosses him. It's a shame he never starred in any other films of the like. The tone is grim and dead serious, and the action is satisfyingly bloody. Given the film's low budget, the production values are decent and never embarrassing (apart from the occasional microphone that creeps into the frame). The fashions are fairly subdued for the time period, and the film is full of great dialog and urban slang. The story is engaging and it's fun to watch T outsmart his adversaries. Harry Medved called this film out as one of the fifty worst films of all time, but he's evidently never seen a Michael Bay movie. While it's not as outrageous as other films in the genre, I found it to be a fun and enjoyable outing.