Archive for the ‘Cop Movie’ Category

Waste Land – *

Posted: September 3, 2015 in 2014, Belgium, Cop Movie, Crime/Detective, Drama, Flanders, X

The synopsis and trailer looked so promising. A film noir set in multilingual and multicultural Brussels about a troubled detective investigating the murder of a young Congolese man. But the end result is disappointing. In fact, the end result is close to being plain crap.

Luckily there is Jeremy Renier, one of the best Belgian actors around. He carries this movie. A great feat, since the shooting must not have been an easy job. He was a last-minute replacement for Matthias Schoenaerts and his character is supposed to be Flemish. There’s a reference to his character being Flemish early on in the movie which doesn’t make sense at all because Jeremy is excellent as a typical French-speaking Bruxellois who can converse in Flemish when needed. But that’s a minor cringeworthy point. There’s so much more in this movie that doesn’t make sense at all, that it’s really tough to sit through.

First, the director doesn’t seem to know what kind of movie he wants to make. It’s a mix of detective thriller and psychological drama and it fails in both genres. There’s nothing thrilling about it and the drama never captivates. A good director gets you in the mood for a certain genre (Scorcese) or combines it with so much flair that the viewer is hooked from the beginning (Soderbergh). Secondly, there are so many superfluous scenes that add nothing to the story and are plain annoying. Why do we need to see Nathalie Broods nipples? Okay, she’s in a sauna and you’re naked in a sauna. But why are they even in a sauna? What’s the point of that scene? And the recreational drug use? Why is that necessary to show? What does that add to the story? It’s cliché. It’s been done before. Many times. And better. But finally, the most terrible thing about this movie is the script and the story. If it were a book, you would have stopped reading after three chapters.

Luckily there’s Jeremy Renier. As mentioned before. And Geert Paredis who was the art director. Because despite the crappy storyline, you can still enjoy the visuals.

Bought this South African buddy cop comedy for 25 rand (which is like 2 euro or so) in a small town in the Karoo. According to the lady in the video rental store – they still exist there – this was an absolute topper. She recommended three others, one of which was SO bad that I couldn’t watch more than half an hour (Babalas). This Blitzpatrollie is also really bad, but at least there are some funny moments and it’s so camp that it’s entertaining at times. It’s also interesting to watch this representation of modern-day South Africa, in which inhabitants of all colors and languages seem to co-live quite well. It’s great to see after you’ve experienced traveling through the country as well – that is if you actually talked to the people or read the funny ‘A Racist Guide To The People Of South Africa’. If you think South Africa has 50 percent black people and 50 percent white people who still don’t talk to each other and there’s a killing on the street every five minutes, than you’re fucked.

That said, the intrigue kind of disappears after an hour when you realize that this is just a copy of the Hollywood buddy cop movie. It must have been a very low-budget movie, with takes done only once. However, the special effects are more efficient than in movies like Sharknado even though there must have been less money to create them. For example: the main killer of the movie kills his victims by throwing a brick to their heads. One brick, one throw and they are dead. That’s ridiculous but funny, especially since it gets repeated a few times. But simple can be clever. The first time it happens you see the victim, you see a brick in the air, you hear a sound and they zoom in on the brick with blood. Compared to the detailed death scenes in Game Of Thrones this suggestive scene is as good.

The story isn’t all that special. Two losers at the police force intervene in a domestic violence scene and accidentally discover a drug den. Another police officer who is supposed to bring the drugs to the police station gets killed (yep, by a brick to his head) and the van disappears. More murders happen and you have several people looking for the drugs. It’s silly. It’s basically a series of sketches glued together with easy detachable spit.

There’s a negative review online which is spot on, but way too harsh. Especially since it accuses the producer for making a ‘touristic trinket’ that will entertain Europeans, who will consider it garbage, but enjoy it anyways because of its exotic appeal. The reviewer is ashamed of this movie and fears that viewers will laugh AT South Africa. Thát is silly.

Bad comedies are made all over the world. Humor is a very regional thing. Would I have liked this movie as a South African? Most likely not. Do I like it as a European movie lover? Not really. But the fact that it is not made in the US, the UK, Germany or France does make it more exotic and more intriguing. That’s not a bad thing at all. The movie won’t make anyone visit South Africa more than they already wanted to before. Nor will it make anyone think that this is the best South Africa can do. Europeans make silly movies all the time. They don’t get released abroad, because maybe they are not exotic enough. Americans make even more silly movies and they do get released. Compared to anything from Will Ferrell or Adam Sandler, this really wasn’t all that bad.

Zulu is a bit of a bad title really, that’s why it was also released as City Of Violence in some countries and Cape Town Cops in others. It never got a release in the UK or the USA, maybe because they couldn’t market it properly. It has Orlando Bloom though and Forest Whitaker who do a great job, even speaking Afrikaans at some point. But it’s directed by a French guy and only got a big release in France.

It’s really not such a bad movie at all, but it just doesn’t feel right. It kind of shows Cape Town from the perspective of outsiders and it tries to fit in too much information in too short a movie. This could have been a great miniseries. Think of crime thrillers like The Killing for instance or True Detective. But now it feels like a superficially directed and written pilot of a crime series.

The main story deals about two cops who want to solve a series of mysterious events after a mutilated body of a pretty young girl was found. But it also involves the disappearing of township children, druglords getting all aggressive against the police at the beach, corruption within the force, former apartheid governments trying to implement new ways of getting rid of the ‘inferior’ black population. It shows Blooms character as a drunk and irresponsible divorced dad. It shows Whitaker as a troubled celibate with subdued trauma’s from the past. Interesting stuff, but not well executed.

But again, maybe one day this becomes a great tv show. 

Let’s Be Cops – *(*)

Posted: February 1, 2015 in 2014, Comedy, Cop Movie, USA, X1/2

This buddy cop comedy has a good set up: two losers dress up like police officers for a party and suddenly get a lot of respect and attention. They decide to ‘play’ cop some more until they really get into trouble and there’s no turning back.

Jake Johnson is pretty hilarious as an unemployed adult child, finally discovering what he really wants to be in life: a cop. Damon Wayans Jr is funny too in his girlish underdog sweetheart kind of way. It’s obvious they had a blast making this movie and some of it actually entertains the audience too. But it’s also clear that the writers had no idea how to fill 90 minutes with this concept, so they added a lot of rubbish as well.

That said, it’s mindless fun. There’s much worse out there.

It’s interesting to watch Blood Ties two days after experiencing Les Liens Du Sang, the movie of which it is a remake. The American version makes more sense, is more stylish and has a better soundtrack. The French original has better actors.

In fact, the main problem of this remake is the cast. It’s such a rich collection of great talent that it ultimately disappoints. Clive Owen acts cool, but that’s about it. Billy Cudrup seems to be debuting. Marillon Cottilard is unusually unimpressive. Matthias Schoenaerts hardly has any screen time. Neither has  Mila Kunis or James Caan. Only Zoey Zaldna steals the show. It’s weird, because the main actor of the original version is the director of the remake, so you’d expect him to be more of an actor’s director. However, he excels in creating a cool atmosphere and he did an awesome job re-writing the script and leaving out all the unnecessary scenes of the original one.

It’s a bit simplified, but it makes more sense. A cop is reluctant to share his apartment with his older brother who was just released from prison. There’s little trust between them and with reason. The gangster soon starts taking jobs that may get him arrested and jeopardize the position of his brother, the cop. A lot of other things are happening as well. Too many other things. Too many characters are introduced and aren’t fully developed.

The original movie was intended as a television series, but got shortened. This remake was re-written as a movie on its own, but would be a great pilot for a new HBO production.

A former criminal gets released from prison and tries to stay on the right path. He gets help from his brother, who chose a totally different kind of life and became a cop. It doesn’t take long for the ex con to fall back into his bad habits, damaging his troubled relationship with his family even more.

This is the original movie on which Blood Ties, a crime drama released earlier this year, was based. Time to rent that movie soon, just to see what was kept and what was changed of the story.

This version has so many side stories that don’t lead to anywhere in particular. They are intriguing, but don’t get fully exploited and explained. It turns out this movie was supposed to have been a television series, but they ran out of production money, so they turned it into a 100 minute cinematic release. Too bad. Now it feels like the movie is unfinished.

The acting is solid. The atmosphere grim and imitating movies like The French Connection. The script is not all that bad to be honest. A lot is explained by simple dialogue. But halfway through the movie you are wondering where it all leads to and the disappointment is huge when it ends into confusing nothingness.

Missed chance.


Hot Fuzz – **

Posted: September 15, 2013 in 2007, Cop Movie, Parody, UK, XX

So, the guys who created Shaun Of The Dead also made a cop buddy / action crime parody called Hot Fuzz. It starts off being not even half as funny as the comical zombie slashing neoclassic, but it gets remarkably better by the end. The overabundance of absurdities only work during the finale, where the silliness is just non stop.

A talented and overachieving officer get transferred from metropolitan London to rural Stanford, where there hasn’t been a murder in over 20 years. Nobody ever wonders why there are so many ‘accidents’ though and the officer starts an investigation, helped by a local constable.

Simon Pegg plays a serious character for a change and that feels kind of awkward. In fact, he’s so convincing as a London police officer that there is no trace of parody at all. He does lose it a bit at the end, but during the entire movie it feels like he’s auditioning for a serious role. Luckily the rest of the cast makes it clear you’re watching a comedy. And again, it gets better by the end. There’s a shootout scene that just cracked me up. Hadn’t laughed that hard in a while.

This movie also proves that with the right sound effects and editing, the right cast and the right attitude you can make an entertaining movie for little money. It sure feels like a big budget movie, but you know it’s not.