Hollywood Homicide
Starring:
Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett
Directed By :
Ron Shelton
Grade
C-

Synopsis: The plot centers on two cops, Joe (Ford) and K.C. (Hartnett), working the homicide division in Hollywood. Each one of them also possesses a side job, Joe as a real estate agent and K.C. as a yoga instructor and aspiring stage actor. We follow them through a case involving a murdered rap group, meanwhile an Internal Affairs agent that Joe pissed off years ago is on their butts.

Who Will This Appeal To? Fans of standard Hollywood action movie fare. Anyone who absolutely LOVES either Ford or Hartnett.

Evaluation: This movie had potential. A-list talent all the way, lots of cameos. But look at the writer/director. Shelton has done some good buddy movies and is usually okay with sports movies: Tin Cup, White Men Can't Jump, Bull Durham, etc. But he's getting into cop movies now, and the results are less than spectacular. Bad Boys II. Some crazy action scenes, but a horrible script. This movie. Before this, Play It to the Bone, another sports/buddy movie with A-list talent (Woody Harrelson and Antonio Banderas), which had its ups and downs and ultimately was an odd but failed film. He also directed Dark Blue (Kurt Russell cop movie), but didn't write it so I'm not including that here. So the point is his writing has slumped the past few years, and that's the problem with this film. The directing isn't bad, the budget and talent are there, but the script is self-defeating. It sets up plotlines and then contradicts them, or doesn't use them well. The murder plot is poorly-developed and not particularly new or inventive. The characters a rather one-dimensional, except the two leads, but I'll get into that later. There's a sub-plot about K.C.'s father, who was a cop, having been killed in an unresolved investigation that just feels tacked on. And on that note, all the plot threads come together just right in the end so that all the background brought up in the beginning of the movie is resolved by the end, all bad guys get what's coming, and good guys get rewarded. It makes me want to puke. So what does the script do right? Well, you've got the veteran and the rookie, and thankfully the movie starts three months into this partnership so we're spared a lot of that development that's been done to death in other films. Similarly, we're mostly spared Joe showing the young K.C. how things are done. Also, the two characters aren't really written to be best buds, which I find refreshing. (Most people blame this on the two actors having no chemistry, but if you pay attention to the movie, you'll see they're not supposed to be bosom buddies.)

So what else? Well, the tone of the film never really comes into its own, and this relates back to the script. The idea is that these are two honest cops in Hollywood. So they have to have side jobs to get by. And honestly I think the movie spends more time on these side jobs than on the cop plot. It's interesting, but ultimately distracting. The movie tries to take a humorous tone, but the humor doesn't get more than a chuckle most times. Then it'll flip around and try to be dark and serious, and you have trouble buying in to that. This is a difficult line to straddle. It was done successfully in the Lethal Weapon series, but not here. Additionally, the resolution features a far too long chase scene that leaves you bored before it's over. By the end of the movie, though it's written to invite a franchise, you don't want to see the characters again.

Final Verdict: Some interesting ideas, but ultimately, in a genre that's had no shortage of Hollywood horror stories, this one doesn't stand above the rest.

It's All in the Details: Fun cameos include Keith David (b-movie star, legendary voice actor) as the underdeveloped police captain, and Lou Diamond Phillips ("Regulators!") as an undercover hooker!

DVD: Kudos for being able to choose widescreen or full frame. Not much for a sound mix. Picture resolution is pretty decent but there's not much to look at. In fact, some of the directing leaves everything too black to make out detail. DVDs should have to go before a review board before they're allowed to be labeled Special Edition. I don't know what makes this one so special. It's got some trailers of Ford movies and some of the studio's movies, and a 'Filmographies' section that only has bios for the director, the writer, and the two stars. Special Features on this disc rate an F. The disc overall rates a D-, which brings the whole grade down a bit as reflected in the final grade of C-.

- - Jeff Light

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