It's not so easy to come up with new equations for worn formulas but that's
not going to stop filmmakers from trying. To give the over-familiar old
cop-young cop buddy picture new life, writer-director Ron Shelton has given
his two guys more on their minds than catching the hoodlums who pulled off a
gangland-style murder of an emerging rap group in a hip-hop nightclub.
On the case is hard-nosed veteran detective Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) whose
anxieties are shared between the investigation at hand and the real estate
deals that are escaping him. His young partner K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett)
who has girls ga-ga over him both in his yoga class and pretty much wherever
he walks, is thinking of quitting police work in order to devote full time to
his "bliss", acting. Everyone's got to follow their bliss, don't they?
The dueling pursuits result in comedic moments, as intended, while the actual
detective work has a laid-back inevitability to it, as though the cast has
read the last act and know they're going to get there, so let's not allow too
much effort muck it up. But the police footwork does get our guys around to
the labyrinth of greed among rap music producers, and into the lair of the
unscrupulous Sartain (Isaiah Washington).
Adding to Gavilan's problems is an attack on his professional conduct by
Internal Affairs officer Bennie Macko (Bruce Greenwood) who is out to get him
any way possible for a previous slight. This becomes magnified when Macko's
psychic ex, (Lena Olin), takes a shine to Gavilan, resulting in some
tasteful undercover probing.
The attractive supporting cast ropes in Martin Landau as the rich producer
selling his mansion, Lolita Davidovich as a sly informant, Lou Diamond
Philips turned out as a female undercover cop, Dwight Yoakum as a senior
grade dirty cop, Gladys Knight without her Pips but in full command of her
acting assignment, Dre', Dr. Dre, Kurupt, Eric Idle, and the list goes on.
Harrison Ford displays what star power is all about with his natural audience
magnetism. His relaxed self confidence turned to comedic timing works for
theatre goers across the age spectrum. Josh Hartnett's Gary Cooperish good
looks, notably seen in more serious contexts in "Pearl Harbor" and "Black Hawk Down", takes on some of the spacey aura of new
age enlightenment for added dimension and another notch of capability on his
belt of credits.
Pats on the back to Ron Shelton and his casting team for bringing in two
lustrous actresses whom we don't see all that much and who deserve far more
attention than they receive: Lena Olin ("Alias" TV series and "Chocolat") and Lolita Davidovich ("The Agency" TV series
and "Mystery, Alaska"). These are two ladies with great pluck and depth.
Production shot: Seen from the streets of Hollywood.
We believe this was for
filming the rooftop chase scene in Hollywood Homicide.
Beyond that talent explosion, the film is definitely worth seeing for anyone
who likes Hollywood and wants to see their action staged on the landmark
streets and buildings of the town. Chases exploit the locality with
furious speed amidst tongue-in-cheek comedy. Intercutting life-endangering
mayhem with negotiating a real estate deal may not be everyone's idea of
hilarity, but it does demonstrate a spirited sense of action and fun.
"Hollywood Homicide" is an appropriate title and a light moment. Don't
confuse it with literary depth.
~~ Jules Brenner