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Hollywood Homicide (12A)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Making of featurette; 'Hollywood Homicide Confidential' featurette; 'LAPD Stories' featurette; Director's commentary; Filmographies.

THE downward curve that continues to represent Harrison Ford’s career shows no sign of easing up with Hollywood Homicide, a mundane and occasionally embarrassing action comedy that struggles to make up its mind about what it wants to be (much like its characters).

Part urban thriller, part offbeat comedy, and part all-out action flick, the movie struggles throughout to find a consistent tone, squandering the talents of just about everyone, while failing to sustain the interest beyond the first hour.

Ford stars as career veteran, Joe Gavilan, the type of weary but tenacious detective we have seen countless times, with an internal affairs investigation hanging over him, a crumbling social life, and, rather more originally, a less-than-successful real estate business on the back-burner.

His partner, KC Calden (Josh Hartnett), is another of those Hollywood cops who conforms to cliché, coming complete with a dead policeman father (whose shooting remains a mystery), as well as a crisis of identity over whether he should continue to be a cop, or pursue his dream of being an actor. Oh, and he teaches yoga to ‘get laid’ on the side.

The quirky lifestyles of this kooky partnership is given added zest by the gangland-style slaying of a high-profile rap group, which forces both to confront some demons from their past, while also sorting out their present problems.

 

Yet the ensuing trip through Tinseltown excess feels more like a kerb-crawl than a joyride, which falls victim to just about every contrivance possible.

Director, Ron Shelton, who also co-wrote the film, must shoulder a lot of the blame, given that he fails to provide his principles with anything substantial to work with - a major disappointment, given the style he brought to Dark Blue earlier this year.

Whereas that provided a fresh take on a well-trodden genre (the corrupt cop scenario), this merely feels like a tired re-tread, designed to provide some easy-on-the-eye thrills at the height of the blockbuster season. Sadly, it doesn’t.

Ford looks uneasy during the comical interludes, while his chemistry with Hartnett is virtually non-existent, and his action scenes look beyond him (especially when the stunt double is so clearly in view!).

Hartnett, too, seems lost amid the material, flitting from sensitive yoga instructor one minute, to all-action pretty boy the next, and only really convincing when called upon to play the ‘bad actor’; merely because he seems so bad!

None of the support players, including Bruce Greenwood, Isaiah Washington, Lena Olin and Martin Landau, are given anything to work with, and several plot strands fail to find a satisfactory resolution.

Indeed, one gets the impression that Shelton, himself, may have run out of patience with it, given the length of the final chase sequence, which runs on forever and falls victim to the same sort of loopholes as the rest of the movie.

Perhaps he thought that by dazzling us with some mayhem, we’d forget the film’s failings; but the chase itself is so poorly conceived that it only serves as an appropriate metaphor for the rest of proceedings - that is to say, a bit of a car wreck from start to finish.

It remains to be seen whether Ford’s reputation can emerge unscathed from this one.

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