Detroit 9000 | Varied Celluloid

Detroit 9000

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 8 - 2008
Originally written by Sebastian Haselbeck from the Tarantino Archives


Introduction: Detroit 9000 may be the low point in Tarantino’s glorious Rolling Thunder video collection. Not because of the movie, but because of the extras. Because there are none. But lets leave that for the last paragraph of this review. Detroit 9000 is a true blaxploitation film and surprised me as a true crime flick with real qualities.

Plot Synopsis: At a fund raiser for black governor candidate Aubrey Clayton, armed and masked gangsters enter the church and rob the place. Afterwards, Clayton urges the Detroit Police Deptartment to solve the case quickly. Because this could be a racial issue, and all over the city people are making up theories whether it’s blacks versus blacks, or racist, or just money related, the chief of police assigns two investigators to the case: Sgt. Jesse Williams (Hari Rhodes), a ‘brother’, and Lt. Dan Bassett (Alex Rocco), a white cop who has always been surpassed with promotions. He smells his big chance for career, he’s a grumpy professional. Jesse is kind of like Shaft, also a professional. Both of them tackle the case and start going after their leads. Everything leads to a whorehouse, where hoe Ruby gives them the clue to go after her pimp Ferdy. He’s supposed to have connections to the thieves that where involved in the heist. Ruby dies. Many gangsters die. The loot is gone. But Jesse smells the truth. It seems like Dan Basset himself has vanished with the loot in order to find the string-pullers behind all this or, to vanish forever and live nicely with the money. While Jesse busts Ferdy and kills most of the gangsters in a big rundown, Dan Basset tries to meet with the middle men of this conspiracy, but his cover is blown as he turns out to be white. They kill him. But Jesse is on it, and solves the case, making himself a hero in public.


The Review
Detroit 9000 is a mixture between Dirty Harry, Shaft and Miami Vice. A black cop and a white cop going after a highly political case. The movie is spiced with racial controversy and suspense. I liked this movie, not because its much of a sensation, but because its a solid crime flick. The plot wanders along like crazy and you start liking each of the characters. The acting is ground solid, and hell, the entire movie does not look low budget. You have boat chases, helicopters, gun fights, explosions, different locations and good music. This blaxploitation film offers a little more than what the package says: substance. A good movie for a good viewing experience.

The DVD
Oh my. Where are the glorious intros and outros by Tarantino? They were on the other DVDs! I wished he would talk about this movie on the disc. Dialogue from this movie is even on the Jackie Brown soundtrack! All you can find, are some trailers (amongst them, the single best trailer for From Dusk Till Dawn). The DVD starts with some trailers and stuff, by the way (“now availably on dvd…”) The image quality is very good and satisfies for a film of this age and production value. The sound… well, it’s 2.0 mono. And while it is not as bad as with Switchblade sisters, it’s still not much of a good effort. But it’s okay.

The Conclusion
A great police crime flick with blaxploitation flavor, fake blood and lots of action. Makes good entertainment for a lazy evening. Too bad the DVD is a no-extras release.

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