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YAPHET KOTTO IN THE MONKEY HU$TLE

year: 1976 rating: ***
Yaphet Kotto is the first billed star, a credit rarely bestowed upon the black icon given he's usually an important supporting role, a title deserving the icon.

Yet he's not really the main character, allowing other young actors like Randy Brooks, who years later played Tim Roth's partner in "Reservoir Dogs", Donn C. Harper and Thomas Carter, "Hayward" in "The White Shadow", to strut their stuff as young men trying to keep ahead of the constant hustle in downtown Chicago.

This allows Kotto to do what he does best: provide an essential base whenever need-be, like in "Blue Collar", "Alien", and just about any film in which he appears. Although here he's the bottom line, and his presence alone makes everyone else shine.
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