Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 6th, 2016
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1972
Director: Ivan Dixon
Writers: John D.F. Black
Cast: Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield, Ralph Waite, William Smithers, Paula Kelly, Julius Harris, Bill Henderson, Wayne Storm
BluRay released: October 18th, 2016
Approximate running times: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber
Region Coding: Region A
Retail Price: $29.95
Trouble Man was directed by Ivan Dixon (The Spook Who Sat by the Door). Key collaborators on Trouble Man include, screenwriter John D.F. Black (Shaft, Nobody’s Perfect), cinematographer Michel Hugo (Head, The Night Stalker) and the score was composed by legendary R & B artist Marvin Gaye.
Though this film has many of the key elements that has since become synonymous with Blaxploitation. The result is one of most unique films to immerge from Blaxploitation. Also if there was one other genre that this film does borrow from, then that genre would be Film Noir and nowhere is this more evident than when it comes this film’s protagonist.
This film has a rock solid premise, a briskly paced narrative filled with misdirection and surprises! Another strength of this film are its visuals which do a superb job capturing the essence of 1970’s décor. With this film’s standout moment visually being a scene where Mr. T invites to rival crime bosses on the verge of a war to a mediation at his pool hall.
Performance wise this cast are all goo in their respective roles. With this film’s stand out performance coming from Robert Hooks (Hurry Sundown) in the role of Mr. T, a character that is as calm, cool, collected and explosive as any of his Blaxploitation contemporaries. Other notable performances include, Gordon Jump (“WKRP in Cincinnati”) the role of a slum lord and Julius Harris (Live and Let Die) in the role of Mr. Big.
Trouble Man comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Color look nicely saturated, black levels and shadow detail remain strong throughout and details always look crisp. Also there are no issues with DNR or compression.
This release comes with a one audio option, a DTS-HD mono mix in English. The audio is in great shape, everything sounds balanced and dialog always comes through clearly. The more ambient aspects like gun shots are well represented and the score for the film sounds robust.
Topics discussed in the audio commentary include, how Blaxploitation films differed depending on which Hollywood studio made home, how Trouble Man is more based in reality then most Blaxploitation films, critical & audience reaction to the film, information about cast & director. Marvin Gaye & the score and their thoughts about the film.
Note: This film is also being released by Kino Lorber on DVD.