Rhodes, best known for his role on the TV adventure series Daktari (1966-1969), was a man of letters offscreen and, accordingly, brought eloquence and poise to his acting. Therefore, it’s a shame that Detroit 9000 give Rhodes one of his only leading roles, since he’s got nothing to do here but strive to retain his dignity while running through gutted urban locations and/or spewing bland dialogue. Rocco, a versatile character actor whose filmography includes everything from The Godfather (1972) to a string of sitcoms, provides a totally different flavor of authenticity, although he, too, is handicapped by an underwritten characterization. Among the supporting cast, Scatman Crothers does some energetic speechifying as a preacher; Vonetta McGee classes up a trite hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold role; and Herbert Jefferson Jr., later a regular on the original Battlestar Galactica series, shows up in full pimp regalia. The problem is that everyone involved in Detroit 9000, including second-rate blaxploitation director Arthur Marks, did better work elsewhere—so why this mediocre flick lingered in Tarantino’s memory is a mystery.
Detroit 9000: FUNKY