Trouble Man

Trouble Man (1972)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, Bill Smithers, Paula Kelly, Julius Harris
Extras: Theatrical Trailer, Fox Flix Previews

Got a problem that needs solving? If this was the early Seventies and you lived in South Central Los Angeles then you call upon smooth talking, street-wise bad ass private investigator Mr. T (Robert Hooks). He will see to your needs, for the right price of course. In the tradition of "Shaft", this early Seventies blaxploitation flick "Trouble Man" is a sheer pleasure to watch. Its raw grittiness serves up a slice of Americana from days gone by, from a group of films that have gone on to inspire filmmakers such as Quentin Tarantino, where he paid homage to this genre with his film "Jackie Brown". If you liked that style, then "Trouble Man" might just work at satisfying your viewing pleasure.

Working out of a pool hall, Mr. T takes care of those around him. Having a keen sense of knowing just who is good or bad on either side of the law. From looking after underprivileged residence of a slum-lord run building to those who can afford his services and need a situation mended, Mr. T is the man to persuade those in the wrong to make good. One day approached by two neighborhood men; Chalky (Paul Winfield) and Pete (Ralph Waite), who have trouble with a group of armed thieves that have been swiping the profits from their floating dice game, calling on Mr. T to help them out. Agreeing to help, Mr. T becomes the fall guy for Chalky and Pete's ulterior motives of taking down crime kingpin Big (Julius Harris). With corrupt cop Captain Joe Marx (Bill Smithers) always looking for a reason to lock up Mr. T, he has his work cut out for him. I had a fun time experiencing this film of total Seventies excess. Larger than life cars, urban gun fights, cheesy suits and lusting ladies, are all in a days work for the man known simply as T.

Twentieth Century Fox provides a well rounded transfer for their release of "Trouble Man". Good color remains continually even in saturation, with rich black levels producing good shadow delineation throughout. Minor film grain is evident, but is more likely a characteristic of the original film stock than video compression, with very minor dust particles present. The presentation is actually quite impressive for a film over thirty years of age. A prime example of how good some older films can look, if a little too good, by highlighting the limitations of production from the era this film was shot. One example of this is the color of fake blood that takes on an almost orangey-ketchup consistency, which is simply a product of the special effects used at the time of production. For a film of average stature, I was pleased at the apparent care that went into the transfer of "Trouble Man" for DVD.

For sound, there is the option of either a Dolby Digital Stereo or Mono soundtrack. Vocals are reproduced to appear quite natural and never display any distortion. Some sound effects like gunshots and squealing car tires show their age by sounding a bit dated. Overall this Marvin Gaye flavored soundtrack for "Trouble Man" is quite favorable.

The only extra included is the theatrical trailer for "Trouble Man", with a Fox Flix section that includes trailers for "Man on Fire", "The French Connection" and "Sugar Hill".

For something a little different that you're sure not going to find at your local mega-plex theater these days, have some guilt free fun with Mr. T in "Trouble Man". You might just dig it.