Trouble Man (1972)

Genres - Adventure, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Blaxploitation, Police Detective Film  |   Release Date - Nov 1, 1972 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 99 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

Trouble Man is a prototypical example of the blaxploitation genre: it's got a stoic tough-guy hero, easy-to-hate villains, an atmosphere of urban danger, and plenty of colorful street language. The storyline isn't particularly original or surprising, but screenwriter John D.F. Black assembles it with skill. Better yet, the tale is brought to life by a vivid cast of gifted actors: Robert Hooks is all quiet intensity as the hero, Julius Harris is a suitably menacing as a crime boss, and Paul Winfield and Ralph Waite are convincingly sleazy as a pair of aspiring hoods. Director Ivan Dixon gets strong, surprisingly understated performances from this well-chosen cast and gives the action a cool visual style that suits it well. The capper is a strong score by Marvin Gaye, including a fantastic, jazzy theme song. Ultimately, Trouble Man isn't ambitious enough to qualify as a blaxploitation classic, but its smooth style makes it very easy to watch for genre fans.