Review by Gordon Justesen
Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Bruce Greenwood, Isaiah Washington,
Lolita Davidovich, Keith David, Master P, Dwight Yoakam, Martin Landau
Director: Ron Shelton
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1, Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: Columbia Tri Star
Features: See Review
Length: 116 Minutes
Release Date: October 7, 2003
gonna die, I know it!”
eventually we ARE going to die someday, but it’s a good thing. We can come
back as something better.”
Many viewers are
likely to feel as if the buddy cop movie is perhaps the most overworked genre of
all genres. However, and I guess it helps to be an action movie junkie like
myself to say this, the genre could never be more higher in laughs and in pure
intense action thanks to a couple of entries this year which have, in my
opinion, redefined the genre. One of them was Hollywood Homicide which, like all successful buddy cop movies, has
an equal amount of laughs and action to go around.
Movies of this sort
aren’t really supposed to merit more than three stars (my soon-to-be-written
review for Bad Boys II is likely to
shock all who read it), but Hollywood
Homicide deserves a hint of extra credit for trying something different with
its formula. While shooting the much darker cop movie Dark Blue, writer/director Ron Shelton discovered an interesting
thing about numerous L.A. cops, which is that some of them happen to carry
second jobs. Many of these kinds of cops worked in the Hollywood district, which
is plagued with all sorts of professions. This notion led to the central cop
characters in this film, who both have secondary careers.
Gruffy veteran cop
Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is going through a major crisis, and it doesn’t
have much to do with the current murder investigation he’s assigned to.
Moonlighting as a real estate broker, Gavilan is stressed out about the fact
that he can’t seem to sell a nice piece of property on Mount Olympus. If he
fails to make a sale, his future in real estate can pretty much be associated
with the fate of the Titanic.
partner, K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), is a clean-cut kid, relatively new to the
force, who doubles as a yoga instructor. Although he insists that his decision
to teach yoga was from a spiritual aspect, Calden admits that he may have got
into the profession for easy access to sex with the hot women who attend his
classes. Fed up with the whole cop scene, Calden wants to pursue an acting
career, as he is in the midst of putting on a one man show performance of A
Streetcar Named Desire.
Gavilan and Calden
are assigned to investigate a nightclub shooting. The victims of the hit were
the four members of an on-the-rise rap group named H20 Klick. The owner of the
nightclub, Julius (Master P), is infuriated, insisting that his club has never
been a scene for any kind of violent incidents. While questioning, Gavilan
discovers a potential buyer for his current real estate property, as Julius says
he’s currently looking for a new house.
As for any top
suspects, the one that tops the list is Antoine Sartain (Isaiah Washington) the
man who heads the very label which endorsed H20 Klick, as well as another rap
artist who was also killed, a murder that resulted in a failed murder
investigation. It’s soon discovered that H20 Klick was on the verge of a
breakup, which would’ve resulted in money down Sartain’s way. This notion
illustrates why Sartain would have no reason to quarrel with his signed group,
though he remains suspicious.
Another factor that
doesn’t help in Gavilan and Calden’s investigation is that of Internal
Affairs watch dog Bennie Macko (Bruce Greenwood), who happens to despise Gavilan
due to past events, and is looking for any excuse to prevent him or his partner
from succeeding their current investigation. It won’t help Gavilan that he
happens to be having an affair with Macko’s ex, Ruby (Lena Olin). A scene
where Gavilan and Calden are being questioned by Internal Affairs in separate
rooms is one of the most howling funny scenes of the year, in my honest opinion.
In addition to the
many laughs in Hollywood Homicide, the
movie has its share of sensational action sequences, which actually don’t kick
in until the second hour. There’s a hilarious foot pursuit of an on-the-lam
suspect named K-Ro (rapper Kurupt), who eludes the cops by jumping in and out of
numerous duck ponds. K-Ro served as the writer for the slain rap group, and went
on the run ever since the hit took place.
Then the movie ends
on a big note, in the form of a near twenty minute chase scene in downtown
Hollywood. This scene is special not just for its elaborate feel, but it manages
to throw in some hugely funny moments, such as the fact that Gavilan manages to
negotiate the selling of a house while in a high speed pursuit. Later in the
pursuit, and with no other means of transportation, Gavilan yanks a pink bicycle
from a little girl while screaming like a crazy man…absolutely priceless.
Loaded with a
dynamite cast, hard hitting laughs, and intense high octane action, Hollywood
Homicide is, from my perspective, one of the more pleasant surprises of the
year. It’s a reminder that Ron Shelton is one of the best writer/directors in
the business when it comes to writing sharp and witty comedies, be it action or
sports-oriented. It also manages to make some serious clowns out of Harrison
Ford and Josh Hartnett, who have a hell of a time displaying their non-too
In addition to Bad
Boys II, Hollywood Homicide is a much exceptional entry in buddy cop genre,
and perhaps one of the best in a long time.
BONUS TRIVIA: Look
for quick cameos from the likes of Eric Idle, Robert Wagner, Andre 3000 of
Outkast, and Smokey Robinson
picture provided by Columbia Tri Star, who continue to display their distinct
qualities by showing this widescreen presentation in the preferred ratio of
2.40:1, is one of the studio’s best looking of the year. Right from the
opening scene at a police firing range, every shot and every angle is given the
absolute best look it can be given, with striking colors and all around picture
clarity. The picture is of the utmost sharpest and clearest as you’d expect
from CTS. A full screen version is also included on this dual layered disc.
I wish there
could’ve been a bit more included in this area. Featured is a commentary from
Ron Shelton, a trailer, and bonus trailers for Air Force One, Charlie’s Angels Full Throttle, The Devil’s Own, The
Missing, and Radio.
It may have been
unable to find its audience this past summer, but Hollywood Homicide should hopefully get noticed, especially with
this grand DVD presentation. It’s the ultra-perfect mix of action and comedy,
with Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett making the perfect odd pairing of cops.