Combustible Celluloid
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With: Denzel Washington, James Fox, Mimi Rogers, M. Emmet Walsh, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Art Evans, Esther Rolle, Norman Beaton, Alex Colon, Robert Townsend, Tyra Ferrell, Carl Bradshaw, Maria McDonald, Fitz Weir, Baldwin Howe
Written by: Hampton Fancher, based on a novel by A.H.Z. Carr
Directed by: Carl Schenkel
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 98
Date: 01/18/2016

The Mighty Quinn (1989)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Ain't Seen Nothin' Like Him

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Carl Schenkel's The Mighty Quinn creates a strong, vivid sense of place -- an island in the Caribbean -- as well as a fascinating character in local police chief Xavier Quinn (Denzel Washington). The story, a high-profile murder with Quinn's pal Maubee (Robert Townsend) as the (possibly framed) suspect, frankly takes a back seat to the colorful setting, characters, and music; in one scene, Quinn returns home and pauses to watch a dance routine being performed by his wife (Sheryl Lee Ralph) and two other women. Quinn himself is a fascinatingly flawed character, letting his job come between himself and his family, and capable of feeling a bit sorry for himself, as well as a bit of pride. Washington gives a tremendous early performance here, managing a regional accent and showing just how perfectly at ease he is in front of the camera. Mimi Rogers and M. Emmet Walsh are equally memorable. Hampton Fancher (Blade Runner wrote the screenplay. It probably would have faded away completely had Roger Ebert not named it one of the best films of 1989. Olive Films released it on a new Blu-ray edition in 2015, preserving the bright picture and glorious soundtrack.

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