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After a group of young revolutionaries break into a corporation's headquarters and steal $5,000,000 worth of heroin to keep it off the street, they call on San Francisco Police Lieutenant Virgil Tibbs for assistance. Though sympathetic to their cause, the straight-arrow Tibbs refuses to consider it because they broke the law, but when the group is then accused of a murder it didn't commit, Tibbs finally joins them in order to ferret out the identity of the real killer, while keeping his now rogue undercover investigation a secret from his SFPD superiors. Written by
Marty McKee <email@example.com>
Sydney reprises his Mr. Tibbs moniker in a nicely paced crime drama that has some well orchestrated action sequences, especially the one at the onset of the film. Those first 10 minutes or so reminded me of the heist scene in "Rififi" (1955), in that this scene too was captured with no dialog, letting the viewer see for himself how the action plan was set into motion.
Some reviewers "dissed" the 70's sound track and street jargon, but what do you expect? It's a period piece, a 70's action film and by definition will employ those contemporary motifs. To me, it's both refreshing and amusing to be thrust back into the cultural modes of yesteryear.
The plot line may have had some small weaknesses to it and some of the actors were no Academy Award nominee hopefuls, but the thrust of the film keeps you attentive and anticipatory. Also, it was nice to see Raul Julia, Demond Wilson and Ron O'Neal in one of their earlier films. Sydney, as usual, shines in his rendition of the Tibbs detective. But the plot twists toward the end where Mr. Tibbs puts the pieces together and gets ready to see justice served... Well, see for yourself in this brutally realistic conclusion.
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