It's a long way down from In the Heat of the Night to They Call Me MISTER Tibbs, but this sequel to the Oscar-winner is not without merit: it just doesn't compare in any way with its predecessor. Taken on its own terms, it's a slightly below average crime drama that probably suffers most from the period in which it was filmed. In 1970, an actor like Sidney Poitier was still being called upon to try to be all things to all people -- he was "THE black actor," and as a result, every move made by any character he played was watched to see what kind of significance it had for the integration of the races. That's not the kind of atmosphere that encourages good writing of idiosyncratic, complex characters. In Tibbs, Poitier's performance is great; his acting skills are in beautiful form. They're just not given the chance to stretch the way he wants and needs them to. Even with this problem aside, Tibbs has problems -- at heart, it's simply a common, ordinary, run-of-the-mill detective film. There are some nice moments here and there that do give it flavor, but too much of what's on the screen is stuff we've seen before.