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LAW AND DISORDER

Review by Alex Haberstroh

Stars:  Carrol O’Connor, Ernest Borgnine
Director:  Ivan Passer
Audio:  Dolby Digital Mono 1.0
Video:  1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Studio:  Anchor Bay
Features:  See Review
Length:  106 Minutes
Release Date:  October 31, 2000

Film *

For those of you who haven’t read any of my previous reviews, I usually enjoy writing an opening paragraph concerning the film’s history in the first paragraph.  Was the film a complete success or failure at the box office?  How did the film get made?  What problems was there that made it that much harder to put out the film?  These questions are just some I try and touch upon to give the reader a little more perspective on the film.  Unfortunately, this film does not lend itself to historical discussion, as I believe that I am one of a “lucky few” who has had to see this film just to warn others how bad it is, like when kids go ice skating on that “questionably frozen pond,” and always send that big fat kid to go first.

The premise of this film is a simple one: when their local neighborhood becomes a virtual cesspool of perverts and thieves, Willie (O’Connor) and Cy (Borgnine) decide to “take matters into their own hands,” forming an “auxiliary” police force with a few friends.  In the end though, they learn that it’s (taking this from the back of the DVD box) “tough to patrol what you can’t control.”  

Being a big fan of Carrol O’Connor’s work as outspoken Archie Bunker on “All in the Family,” I popped in this disc with great anticipation.  Sadly though, I was surprised to see that, for many different reasons, the film just doesn’t work.  The plot is not cohesive at all; almost like a ninth grader had been assigned to write the screenplay the day before production.  Events just occur without explanation, as if certain introductory scenes had been left on the cutting room floor, leaving a plot line that confused the hell out of me.  The worst instance of this was when I was watching what should have been the middle of the film, but was really the conclusion of it!  Secondly, the film claims to be a “laugh till it hurts” comedy, yet nothing in the film is funny.  I mean not even remotely.  I couldn’t even find one line in this strange film that was even accidentally funny!  And what’s with the cheesy seventies music?!?  It felt like I was hearing a cat being strangled to death with piano wire.     

Video **

Well, what can I say about the video?  Hmmm…well, the colors were okay and the print didn’t seem to show its age too badly.  Those who love this film will be happy to know it is in anamorphic.

Audio **

Two language tracks were included, English and French, both in mono sound.  Sigh…will I ever get to review another film that uses more than my center speaker?  What? Not even subtitles?

Features *

This film came up short in this category as well.  Included were a theatrical trailer, two TV spots and Talent Bios. 

Summary:

In conclusion, the film’s story made me ponder how many different ways I could jump out a ten-story window.  The movie makes no sense and isn’t funny in the slightest way.  The audio is sub-par, the video mediocre, and the supplements weak.  Movies like this show the value of critics:  we suffer so you don’t have to.  Dear God!  Stay away from this film like the bubonic plague, unless you want a really expensive coaster.  Not recommended.