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'One Good Cop' DVD Review ** 071305
(1991)

The Work = **
A more accurate title for 'One Good Cop' would be One Incredibly Stupid Cop. Michael Keaton is a great actor that seems to have a knack for picking cheesy movies. 'One Good Cop' is a prime example of a cheesy movie. I’m not even sure that it could have been shaped into a workable film since it is trying to be more than one film at once.

The thing is, it doesn’t succeed at either of the potential stories. One story in the film is that of a gritty, hard boiled police drama. Violent and tough, this is the story of cop Artie Lewis and his dealings with increasingly out of control drug related crimes in his precinct. The other story is the heartwarming, melodramatic, tale of Artie and his wife Rita (Rene Russo) as they attempt to care for some young children. Painfully cute, the children will win over the couple who struggle to care for them.

Ahem. So here’s the thing, neither story is particularly original but as I have said before, I am a sucker for crime dramas so I’ll overlook a lack of originality for entertainment. If the plot is going to be the same ‘ol tough detective fighting the tough criminals yarn then I will at least look forward to exciting shootouts, action sequences, and gritty dialogue. Yeah, not so much in 'One Good Cop'. Oh there are the almost required shootouts, hostage situations, and tough talk but none of it is terribly convincing or exciting.

I couldn’t help but wonder if the gritty cop story might have been held back for the heartwarming family tale. Look, I know police officers have families, and I know there are struggles for money, time, and patience in their lives. I appreciate that a film would tackle those subjects except that it doesn’t do any good to do a completely unconvincing job of it. Almost everything in 'One Good Cop' played to me, like a deliberate plot device to either A) manipulate the audience or B) set up another development in the film. I know this is the way movies work but usually it doesn’t feel so blatant, or so forced.

Getting back to the "stupid" part. ‘Ol Artie makes a decision, almost out of the blue, that makes him seem a few cans short of a six pack. Actually I guess it shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise since when dealing with a hostage situation he chose to allow his increasingly unstable sounding partner to continue to “help” take down the assailant. I am deliberately being vague about the plot details because there are some twists and turns and if you are a fan of the film I don’t want to ruin anything.

Now, I should be clear, I’m sure this film will have its fans. It has a solid cast; Keaten, Russo, Anthony LaPaglia, Rachel Ticotin and Benjamin Bratt are all capable actors. They have all been good in other films but here they can’t make the film work and there isn’t enough of any of their performances to make the film entertaining. Fans of those involved may enjoy the film and maybe those who are big crime drama fans might dig it more than I did. I just wasn’t entertained by the film.

DVD = ***

The Look
'One Good Cop' gets one mediocre transfer. Alright I’ll stop. The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The transfer just looked kind of bland. Perhaps it was the intent of the filmmakers but I suspect it was more likely a rush transfer job by the studio.

The Sound
'One Good Cop' gets an English and a French Dolby Digital soundtrack that sound ok. Dialouge and effects were clear and it got the job done in a really basic sort of way. (I only reviewed the English track.)

The Bonus
Booooo! So, I didn’t enjoy the film but even the works of flics’ deserves some bonus features. Hell, even a trailer would have been something or how about a featurette from when the film came out?



All Together = **
So, I didn’t really care for 'One Good Cop' but it is certainly not the worst film I have seen. The DVD is pretty barren but at least the film is in widescreen. If you are a fan of this one you will probably want to pick it up but otherwise it is a definite rental.

-Nate

'One Good Cop' Links:

IMDB

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