Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Unseen #4: Detroit 9000

Why I Bought It: Part Of Quentin Tarintino’s Rolling Thunder Label. Bought during the most fevered stages of my Tarantino Fanboy status (Right inbetween Kill Bill 1 and 2 for the curious).

Why Haven’t I Watched It Yet?: I don’t know disappointment at finding out that the movie didn’t actually take place in Detroit in the year 9000? (kidding)

How Was It?: Surprisingly good. Blacksploitation as with any exploitation is often a lot more fun in theory then in practice. While kitsch, and giant hats will get you so far. The lack of a compelling; story/characters/anyone giving a shit, can be wearing if you plan on watching something for more then five minutes.

Detroit 9000 is pretty high end though, featuring a pretty good mystery, some great quotable dialogue, a nifty end twist (Come to think of it there are a few of them), some sequences that are genuinely well put together and excited, and a world view that is cynical even for Blacksploitation. It might not be quite as fun as watching Gordon from Sesame Street play a pimp (Willie Dynamite, IMDB that shit if you think I’m making it up). But it comes close.

When a black congressman’s fundraising ball is robbed Detroit racial tensions in Detroit (GASP) threaten to explode. It’s up to a hang dog Eliot Gould lookalike (remember this is back when this was a good thing) to team up with a Capt. John T. Soulbrother (warning might not be actual name) to find out whose ripped off the goods. The great thing about Detroit 9000 is that everyone is a bastard, a flashback to a strategy session of the congressman is one of the most gleefully venal scenes I’ve ever seen in a film. The Black Cop and The White Cop do not end up buddies, the city of Detroit plays itself admirably as a rotting husk of urban blight (once again shocking I know), the ending is downbeat, and it seems like it was shot by someone who actually knew what to do with a camera.

There are plenty of Grindhouse films with more kitsch value and Grand Guinole, but very few can match Detroit 9000 for sheer quality.

Still if it had been set in city of Detroit in the year 9000 it would have won movies.

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