Brother on the Run (1973)

MPAA Rating - R
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Brother On The Run (which has also circulated as Man On The Run and Boots Turner, and appeared on video as Black Force 2) was clearly aiming to be something better and more thoughtful that the average 1970s blaxploitation feature, and it's hard not to feel bad for the filmmakers since it falls short of its self-imposed target. More an action picture that largely takes place in Los Angeles's African-American neighborhoods rather than a proper blaxploitation effort, Brother On The Run benefits from an earnest performance by Terry Carter as a college professor determined to see a young man receive fair treatment at the hands of cops he believes are too quick to violence; the script saddles Carter with some awkward dialogue and slang that hasn't stood the test of time, but he's a strong, compelling presence who shows he has the skills to handle a rare leading role and does well with the material he's given. Gwenn Mitchell plays Carter's love interest and she looks less like a prostitute than any screen hooker of recent memory (unless off-the-rack pantsuits were standard fare for streetwalkers in L.A. at the time), but she displays personality and charisma with a thankless role. And James Sikking has always been a good, dependable hand at playing a cop (particularly during his long run on Hill Street Blues), and he's in fine form here as a no-nonsense police lieutenant. Brother On The Run's flaws ultimately do it in -- the clumsy dialogue, the many incongruent plot elements, the slow-moving chase sequences and the indifferent pacing -- but the fine work from the cast offers some compensation for those who've chosen to slog through it anyway.