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Film / Trouble Man

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Trouble Man is a 1972 blaxploitation film written by John D. F. Black and directed by Ivan Dixon, with music by Marvin Gaye.

Mr. T (Robert Hooks) is a private detective and problem solver who works out of a pool hall owned by Jimmy (Bill Henderson). Chalky Price (Paul Winfield) and Pete Cockrell (Ralph Waite), who run dice games, hire T to catch four robbers who have been targeting them. But the next time the robbers strike, Chalky shoots one of them, who turns out to be Abbey Walsh (John Edwards), employee of crime kingpin Big (Julius Harris). When Pete and Chalky frame T for Abbey's death, T must find out why.

Trouble Man contains examples of:

  • Disposing of a Body: Chalky and Pete dump Abbey's body in a parking lot. Then one of them provides an anonymous tip to the police, saying where the body is and claiming T killed him.
  • Dumbwaiter Ride: A variation. Instead of riding in the dumbwaiter, T pulls himself up the ropes of a disused dumbwaiter shaft.
  • Freeze-Frame Ending: An unusual example. The credits roll over a freeze-frame of T's car pulling out of the police station parking lot, but then after the credits end, the image unfreezes and the car pulls into traffic before the movie ends.
  • Is the Answer to This Question "Yes"?: When T asks his pool opponent if he can afford a $500 bet, his opponent replies, "Is an elephant heavy?"
  • Office Golf: T goes to threaten a building owner whose neglect of the building has caused a child to become injured. T finds the man playing golf in his office. He steps on the golf ball as it rolls towards him.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Attempted by a goon who tries to beat T up with a gun, but T pushes the gun away and beats the goon up instead.
  • Pop-Star Composer: Marvin Gaye, with the title song becoming a Top 10 hit.
  • Soft Glass: As Abbey falls, his flailing arm manages to smash a windowpane.
  • Stocking Mask: The four robbers all wear these.
  • We Need a Distraction: T visits the record office at the police station and has his girlfriend Cleo (Paula Kelly) call the office, pretending to be a college newspaper journalist researching for an article about government jobs for graduates. While the officer who works there talks to her, T steals his gun from the evidence cabinet. At the end of the movie, he persuades a policewoman to pretend to misunderstand the codes she works with. While the officer is explaining them to her, T places the gun back in the evidence cabinet so no one will suspect anything.