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Trouble Man
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Reviews & Ratings for
Trouble Man More at IMDbPro »

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Totally underrated Blaxploitation flick

10/10
Author: amire from NYC
22 June 2000

Judging by the low number of votes for this film on the IMDB, it appears not too many people have had a chance to see this movie, which is a real shame. I saw it on the Fox Movie Channel last night, and was thoroughly impressed. "Trouble Man" has a good plot, good characters, good performances, and a good script. Robert Hooks is great in the lead as the badass private dick "T". I would add that, in my opinion, this film is as good if not better than "Shaft". That's high praise, perhaps, but see the movie and you might agree. I should put it in more blunt terms: if John Shaft and T were ever to have some beef with each other, T would definitely hold his own, and at the very least, give Shaft an ass whuppin' he would not soon forget.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

forerunner

9/10
Author: (cspievak) from LA LA LAND
5 April 2002

If you have never seen this film, but you saw Shamus (of Burt Reynolds fame), then you have seen this film. You just didn't know it. This movie came out in 1972, Shamus in 1973. The plot is different, but the central character is the same(except for black/white). A private eye that is rough and tumble, lives in a pool hall, has a front man run the hall, has hassles with the police, and can fix almost anything, while being the ultimate lady killer. Both movies are very good.

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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

A grand "blaxploitation" flick of the 70's

Author: raysond from Chapel Hill, North Carolina
26 May 2004

This is one of the grandest "blaxploitation" flick of the 1970's,and to this day it still doesn't get the ultimate respect it truly deserves. This is a one man in-your-face action flick that delivers the goods and keeps coming back for more. It's ranks up there with the best of that era which includes films like "Black Caesar","Shaft","Super Fly","Coffy" "Foxy Brown","Hammer","Three The Hard Way",and so much more. For those who never seen this film,it is worth the required viewing in a movie that doesn't waste any time,even though its running time of 99 minutes holds the audience in check. When this film came out in 1972,it was not very likable by the critics,but audiences were enthralled by the great acting,unstoppable action and the great atmosphere. In other words,one of the baddest ass flicks of the decade. This film came out around the same time another blaxploitation film came out about the same time.... Gordon L. Parks' "Super Fly"(Warner Bors.,1972),which starred Ron O'Neal and "Black Caesar"(AIP,1972),directed by action-guru Larry Cohen which starred Fred Williamson.

"Trouble Man"(20th Century Fox,1972),directed by fame Hogan Heroes'star Ivan Dixon,and starring Robert Hooks as the central character Mister T. Mister T was one cool dude,a straight-up hustler,pimp daddy and private eye who always kept his cool whenever something was about to happened,and usually does. He has a beau of beauties,drives a expensive Lincoln Continental car,and wears $600 suits that are customed made in Italy! Also,you can tell that Mister T came up hard,and had to be harder than the competition! Raised in the streets he's been a man since he was a kid. He has an aresnal of weapons,he's rough and tumble and ready for action,and can fix almost any situation while being the ultimate lady killer. Also,to point out that Mister T is no joke! You'll rub him the wrong way or try to double crossed him,he'll blow up in your face. He is cold hard steel,not to be messed with! However,he has hassles with the police,the mobsters who want to eliminated him at all costs(including one of them played by Ralph Waite,of the TV series The Waltons,and the others played by Paul Winfield and Julius Harris)while maintaining the control of his business and his main squeeze(played by Paula Kelly),but Mister T gives them hell to pay and pay they do! In other words,"Trouble Man",was throroughly impressive,and its a crying shame that this film is not out anywhere on DVD and Video since the last time I saw this was when I was little with my parents in the movie theatres,and again as an adult when cable's The Fox Movie Channel. This film is Rated "R" for strong graphic violence and language with parts of nudity for some of the sexual material.

About the motion picture soundtrack to "Trouble Man":(Release in 1972) This soundtrack came out before the film did,and if you check it out it is a soul classic of the era. However,this was basically a jazz album by the way since Motown great Marvin Gaye wanted to do a jazz instrumental piece for years,but here is the album that gave a new generation a classic piece of brilliant soul. Here is vintage soul music with all the arrangements and songs written by Marvin Gaye himself and it is worth the listening experience,so please check it out.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Solid Example of Black Action Cinema

8/10
Author: C. Sean Currie (hypestyle) from detroit, MI
8 May 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 1972, 20th Century Fox released "Trouble Man", starring Robert Hooks—by then a veteran of on-and-off-Broadway stage productions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hooks) and the short-lived ABC network series "N.Y.P.D." (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061282/). The film, released early during the black action-movie trend, functions as a kind of Southern California answer to "Shaft", but the film is more than just a derivative clone. The film's director, Ivan Dixon, was the black POW Kinch on "Hogan's Heroes".

In "Trouble Man", Hooks' title character—Mister 'T' (we never learn his real name) is a private detective whose turf is Los Angeles. He keeps his office in a popular billiards hall, run by T's older friend/partner, Jimmy. While in between private eye jobs, T earns money as a pool shark. Apparently, his reputation is impressive, as a sequence early in the film finds a Texas-bred hustler challenging him in a high stakes game (guess who wins).

Plot: One fateful day, T is approached by a known pimp, Chalky Price (Paul Winfield), who has a business proposition for him. Chalky claims to be out of the pimp game, and is now into staging illegal dice tournaments at otherwise nondescript locations. His partner is Pete (Ralph Waite): Caucasian, Pete brings clients from the 'whiter' parts of town to play, while Chalky brings blacks. They move the games around so as to not arouse police suspicion. But bad luck has hit these racketeers—they claim that masked men have been knocking over their games, and leaving with the loot. They want T to run interference and stop the dishonor among thieves. T accepts their offer, but he's no fool—he wants a big cut of the action—10 grand, to be precise. Chalky and Pete reluctantly agree, and arrange for T to go undercover as just another player in the next game.

However, Chalky & Pete have an ulterior motive. Having kidnapped the 'collector' (i.e., leg-breaker) for a rival underworld boss, Chalky & Pete's gang stage a robbery of their own game, disguise the kidnap victim as a gunman and murder him in front of T. The police investigation finds the body, and apparently someone identified T as being where the action happened. Mr. Big, the rival boss (genre veteran Julius Harris) suspects T, just like the police do.

A zealous police captain (William Smithers) wants T behind bars. But for now, the evidence is flimsy enough for T to walk, and he arranges for Chalky, Pete & Big to meet with each other at the pool hall, just to clear up that they have no beef with each other. But when Big shows up and then a group of thugs dressed like police arrive to shoot up the place— and Big—it becomes clear to T that he was set up from the beginning by the conniving Chalky & Pete. This sets up the climax in which T methodically gets his revenge on the crooks that double-crossed him.

Analysis: Like Shaft, Hooks' Mister T is a role model of black self-made success: he's well-dressed (the trailer makes mention of his $600 suits), neatly coiffed, drives a Lincoln Continental (he's said to buy a new ride every year), and lives at a swank bachelor's pad apartment in a desirable (read: white) part of town. He's street smart (the trailer mentions that "he was a man ever since he was a kid") but he has all the appropriate licenses he needs and is apparently a regular at the local law library. In other words, he can go toe-to-toe with the (white) establishment with no fear. T's no 'honky-basher', though—he clearly has a friendly relationship with the white sergeant who oversees the police records department. He's also community minded—when told about a child injured in a ghetto tenement due to creaky railing, he casually barges into a real estate manager's office and bullies the boss into fixing up the place and paying the hospital bill for the child.

Last but not least, T is a ladies' man. His main girlfriend, lounge singer Cleo, is played by genre regular Paula Kelly. Another special friend is played by Jean Bell (Playboy's first black centerfold who would soon helm her own vehicle, "TNT Jackson"). Collectively, they may or may not know the score on their competition, but all of T's flames dig their man. To his credit, T isn't portrayed as a callous pimp who tough-talks and threatens his lady-friends, but simply a smooth operator in the James Bond mold.

About the only thing missing from the film is a nightclub scenario. Some of the situations are a stretch to witness—in particular, T's conning his way into a police evidence locker—twice—with the cop in charge less than 10 yards away. You kind of just have to go along with the gag, and the overall action makes up for the handful of plot-holes. Curiously, a sequel was never made, despite presumably making a modest profit at the box-office.

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11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

"He's got two guns: one to stop trouble, and one to make it!

10/10
Author: anonymous from Seattle
14 December 1998

One badass flick, man!

T defines cool!

He wears 600$ suits, drives a 10,000$ car. Raised in the streets he's been a man since he was a kid!

If you rub him the wrong way, he'll blow up in your face!

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

"T" is Super Cool!!

Author: sfwbib424 from San Francisco, Ca.
12 August 2001

Being a Baby Boomer I thought I had caught all or most of the Black-Exploitation movies! Somehow I missed Trouble Man! Robert Hooks who plays "T" had to be one of the coolest dudes I've ever seen! I wonder what Mr. Hooks (who's a serious and dramatic actor) thinks when looks back at this wonderful piece of art! Sound Track is great!

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A hugely exciting and enjoyable vintage 70's blaxploitation blast

8/10
Author: Woodyanders (Woodyanders@aol.com) from The Last New Jersey Drive-In on the Left
20 August 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Supremely suave Robert Hooks plays it cool and easy as Mr. T, an ultra-smooth womanizing pool shark (real-life pool hustler James Earl "Txas Blood" Brown cameos as an arrogant sucker Mr. T beats in a high stakes game), licensed private detective, and fee-lance troubleshooter for hire, one certifiably bad hombre anti-hero and all-around ruthless, cocksure righteous cat. Mr. T's hired by treacherous underworld kingpin Chaly White (the always excellent Paul Winfield) and Chalky's equally pernicious greaseball white partner Pete (an uncharacteristically slimy'n'sleazy Ralph Waite, who's extremely hateful in a rare full-fledged villain role) to foil a stick-up gang that's been ripping off the devilish duo's late night illegal craps games. Mr. T gets framed for murdering the son of one Mr. Big (ubiquitous blaxploitation mainstay Julius Harris, dominating over everybody with scene-swiping self-assurance), a notorious major league inner city player who declares open season on Mr. T's hide. Further complications develop when Mr. Big winds up involved in a ferocious all-or-nothing turf dispute with Chalky and Pete, a vicious war which puts Mr. T in the uncomfortable position of having to evade both the bullying jerk cops and an endless legion of brutish mob goons.

Ivan ("The Spook Who Sat by the Door") Dixon's brisk, hard-as-steel direction gives the somewhat standard crime/revenge plot a good, swift kick in the rear, wringing plenty of tension and fiercely violent, gut-tearing action from "Shaft" co-screenwriter John D.F. Black's knotty, cynical script. Said script vividly creates a chilly, chaotic dog-eat-dog world ridden with cold-blooded double crosses and populated by greedy, untrustworthy scuzzwads who'll do anything for money or power. The convoluted, resolutely unsetimental story persuasively states that there's no such thing as either honor or loyalty among thieves. The blackly amoral, mean-spirited, evil-hearted tone will set your nerves on end. The coarse, barbed dialogue really hits the scorching spot, too ("Now get the hell out of my car -- the two of you are *beep*ing up a nice day"). Michael Hugo's slick, expansive cinematography lends the picture a glossy, glittering look while the fabulously funky Marvin Gaye score, boasting a sublimely hip'n'heavenly opening credits theme song, supplies the awesomely happening soul music vibes. (The invaluable Robert O. Ragland served as a technical assistant to the composer.) Controbuting solid secondary turns are Paula Kelly as Mr. T's sexy nightclub singer main squeeze, "WKRP in Cincinnati" TV show regular Gordan Jump as a spineless, sniveling slum lord, and "Sudden Death" 's Felton Perry as an amateur boxer informant. Harsh, tough-minded and morally reprehensible, "Trouble Man" proves to be every bit as irresistibly irrepressible and irresponsible as its titular untouchable character.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

One of those supercool PIs

Author: (dj_bassett) from Philadelphia
22 November 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Mr. T", aka "Mr Trouble", aka "Trouble Man" (Robert Hooks) is the kind of guy who can do it all: run interference in the underworld, kung fu bad guys, schmooze it up with the cops, beat a pool shark at his own game, fake a crime scene, invade a gang's hideout, intimidate a landlord, and look good doing it to, baby. Mr. T takes a job from Paul Winfield (!) and Pa Walton himself, Ralph Waite (!!!) to find out who's been knocking over their crap games. Everything's not as it seems, though, and before you know it ol' Mr. T's in a world of hurt.

Amiable blaxploitation epic doesn't have a lot of action, really: it's more content to cruise along with a sense of style and a hip attitude. Both are pretty well conveyed, though. Even better is the script, which, while no masterpiece, is tight and complicated: you do have to pay attention to keep aware of what's exactly going on and who's messing with who. (It's interesting that such a level of craft was devoted to what was essentially throwaway B product. If only people cared that much about today's throwaway B product. ) Classic Marvin Gaye soundtrack.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

This movie does not waste your time!

10/10
Author: inframan from the lower depths
28 November 2001

Great movie. I too saw it for the first time on Fox Movie Channel. It grabbed me & held on tight. Great acting, great action, great atmosphere. Better than Shaft! If this movie had had Lee Marvin as the lead it would have been called the "greatest action movie since Point Blank" (which it kind of reminded me of). Anyway, a terrific film!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The other Mr. T

7/10
Author: Bensch from Salzburg, Austria
9 September 2008

This guy sports no mohawk, full beard, camouflage pants or 500 k in gold chains, and yet this Mr. T is just as supremely bad-ass as his more famous namesake. Over a decade before B.A. Baracus first pitied fools with the "A-Team", 'Trouble Man' Robert Hooks kicked asses through grindhouse cinemas in this highly entertaining blaxploitation flick of 1972. Mr T. (Robert Hooks) is a super-tough and super-cool player, private eye and basically the man for every business that calls for balls - the 'Trouble Man'. As one of the promotional lines promises: "He carries two guns, one to stop trouble and one to make trouble." If a job is dangerous and needs to be done, Mr. T is the man to do it. Trying to trick him, however, is not recommendable...

While "Trouble Man" is, as far as I am concerned, no highlight of 70s blaxploitation cinema (films like "Coffy", the original "Shaft" or "Truck Turner" come with my highest possible recommendations) it is a film that every fan of the black Exploitation sub-genre should appreciate. The story is not the most original ever, but good enough. The film is full of action and violent shootouts, the score by Marvin Gaye is cool (even if not quite as cool as the contemporary scores by Isaac Hayes), and Robert Hooks is great in the lead. Some more female eye-candy certainly wouldn't have bothered me, but overall the film shouldn't be missed by blaxploitation fans. Highly recommended to my fellow lovers of 70s cult-cinema.

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