HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE

Starring Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Isaiah Washington, Dwight Yoakam, Bruce Greenwood, Lolita Davidovich, Lou Diamond Phillips, Martin Landau, Master P and Keith David

Directed by Ron Shelton

Review by Mark Walters


COP OUT

Being a big fan of Harrison Ford, I really wanted this film to be good.  It's also important to see him getting back to action roles since INDY 4 is supposedly right around the corner.  Sadly HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE comes across as nothing more than a weak attempt at a buddy cop flick, that's as forgettable as it is messy.  The biggest mistake is made at the very beginning of the film.  We see Ford and Hartnett as cops on the shooting range.  It's apparent they're already partners, and Ford is the smarter of the two.  Note to writers: A buddy cop film works best when we actually get to see the mismatched cops meet.  Cut to a Hip-Hop club where a rap group is brutally gunned down by two hitmen.  Detectives Joe (Ford) Gavilan and K.C. (Hartnett) Calden are called in to investigate.  It's established early on that both men have side jobs; Gavilan is a realtor and Calden teaches Yoga.  Their investigation leads to a slimy record producer played by the clearly typecasted Isaiah Washington.  (Hasn't he played this same role more than once before?)  The script wastes no time telling us exactly what's going on, and who is behind it, completely taking any possible mystery out of the film.  Throw in a hackneyed subplot about K.C.'s father being gunned down years ago during a case, and an aggravated superior officer (Bruce Greenwood, who deserves much better parts than this) breathing down Gavilan's neck.  The rest of the film is nothing more than Joe and K.C. dealing with the various pressures of their everyday lives, all while casually dealing with the murders.  One of the most repeated themes in the film is how no one in Hollywood wants to be bothered with anything going on around them, despite how dangerous it may actually be.  There is more cel phone humor here that you've probably seen in any film before, and the petty characteristics exhibited in each scenario may have you wishing to avoid the L.A. area at all costs.

HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE unfortunately just feels lazy.  The two main characters (like most everyone in the film) don't really seem to care much about anything, and nothing ever seems too serious.  There are some laughs, including a few really good ones, but none of it ever seems to make much of an impression.  Ford has fallen well into the inevitable gruff older pro persona.  He looks like a tired guy, sick of everything in his life.  Not much of a hero, eh?  Hartnett even seems pretty bored.  His character longs to be an actor, despite his lack of ability for such a job.  One particularly disappointing aspect of this film is in it's marketing.  The commercials and previews make it look like an action-packed LETHAL WEAPON-like thriller, which it is very much not.  In fact the only real action occurs in the last ten minutes of the film.  By then we've lost interest, not that these characters ever gave us a reason to have any.  So how do I score this one?  The comedy elements are fairly good, but the script is silly.  The action, what little there is, plays fairly well.  I'm bothered by the pacing.  Several times I asked myself "What is the point to all of this?"  You know a film is in trouble when the plot relies on a psychic to point our heroes in the right direction.  I'm happy to say that Ford still looks good in the action scenes, and appears to be doing most of his own stunts.  Hartnett just looks way too young to be in this.  The age contrast between the two main characters is almost too much.  Sadly none of the supporting characters are all that interesting either.  Lou Diamond Phillips appears ever so briefly in a rather funny cameo, and judging by the press kit photos was supposed to have a much bigger part.  That leaves me to wonder if this thing was just juggled back and forth in the editing room up until it's unsatisfying completion.  Certain actors like Martin Landau try to add a level of grace to this otherwise disjointed script.  HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE is a buddy cop movie gone bad.  You can tell the idea was there to begin with, but ended up poorly executed.  Bring on INDY 4, but please let this on-screen team take a permanent donut break.

Images copyright SONY PICTURES 2003.

BIGFANBOY.com score - On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, I give HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE a 5.


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