THE MIGHTY QUINN. MGM, 1989. Denzel Washington (Xavier Quinn), James Fox, Mimi Rogers, M. Emmet Walsh, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Esther Rolle, Robert Townsend (Maubee). Based on the book Finding Maubee by A. H. Z. Carr. The title of the film is derived from the song “Quinn the Eskimo” by Bob Dylan. Director: Carl Schenkel.

   Xavier Quinn has his hands full in this one. Having graduated from the FBI Academy at Quanico in the US, he’s come home to become the chief of police on a small island in the Caribbean, when he’s asked to close up a case of homicide as quickly as possible. Problem: the most obvious suspect is Maubee, a friend of his from childhood. He’s also forced to deal with his estranged wife Lola and he barely has time to see his son.

   Over the years Maubee has become a puckish ne’er-do-well who has a knack of just staying one step of the authorities – that is to say, Quinn, and he leads the latter a very merry chase throughout the movie. The governor of the island and the others powers that be are not amused.

   There is a detective story behind this rather amusing overlay, but it takes second place behind the general atmosphere of singing, dancing and the beautifully photographed colors of the people, the local shop, the beaches and blue sky. It may seem a little forced at first, but once the story gets underway, it all blends together in very fine fashion.