Detroit 9000 (1973)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Blaxploitation  |   Release Date - Oct 16, 1998 (USA - Rerelease)  |   Run Time - 106 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

Like Across 110th Street, Detroit 9000 is an excellent urban-set police film that is often incorrectly categorized as a blaxploitation film. This is unfortunate because Detroit 9000 is much more ambitious than such a mislabeling would suggest. Orville Hampton's script is a tight, engaging narrative that mixes an effective mystery and exciting bursts of action with social commentary about race relations, the difficulties of a policeman's life and the corruptive influences power and money can have on people of any color. Veteran b-movie and television director Arthur Marks brings plenty of energy and narrative focus to the table, keeping the complex narrative rolling forward while delivering effective jolts of adrenaline in all the necessary spots. Marks' work really shines during the action scenes, great examples being the tense heist that opens the film and an extended shoot-out/chase sequence near the end of the film. Best of all, the film is anchored by two strong lead performances: Alex Rocco is effortlessly convincing as the grizzled veteran cop caught between the gears of a politically complex job and a difficult home-life while Hari Rhodes brings both charisma and intelligence to his role as Rocco's partner, an ex-football player trying to prove himself a s a police detective. There is also an emotionally affecting performance from Vonetta McGee as a call girl who accidentally finds herself wrapped up in the film's central mystery. In short, Detroit 9000 is a smart, exciting example of the police procedural that deserves to be seen by any fan of the genre.