Hollywood Homicide review by Mike Long

For this column, I had planned to review 28 Days Later, but wound up screening Hollywood Homicide instead. I was very surprised to find that, like 28 Days Later, Hollywood Homicide is a zombie movie too, as everyone involved in the film is moving in slow-motion, creating one of the worst buddy-cop movies in years.

Hollywood Homicide stars Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett as, believe it or not, homicide detective in Hollywood. Joe Gavilan (Ford) is an older cop, who likes Motown music and sells real estate on the side. His younger partner, K.C. Calden (Hartnett), works part-time as a yoga instructor and is considering leaving police work to pursue an acting career. When two members of a rap group are gunned down at a nightclub, Gavilan and Calden begin their investigation. But, they are distracted by the fact that Joe is attempting to sell a house which he has sunk his own money into, and K.C. is concerned about an upcoming play in which he is appearing. To make matters worse, Lieutenant Macko (Bruce Greenwood) of Internal Affairs is convinced that Gavilan is a "dirty cop" and is constantly harassing Joe. When Gavilan and Calden finally get around to focusing on the murders, they find a string of coincidences that bring the killings very close to home.

Hollywood Homicide is one of those unfortunate films which has a clever idea and then takes that idea absolutely nowhere. The premise concerning the fact that the two detectives are constantly being distracted by their "other" lives is very intriguing and could have made a very clever and unique film. Unfortunately, writer/director Ron Shelton drops this idea into the middle of one of the most cliché ridden cop films ever. Shelton made his name making sports films, Bull Durham, White Men Can’t Jump, Tin Cup, etc. His last outing was the police drama Dark Blue, which garnered good reviews. But, Shelton goes in the wrong direction with Hollywood Homicide, and never gets the film under control. The movie isn’t funny, nor is it exciting, so it’s not a comedy or an action film -- although it attempts both. The movie is oddly edited as well, as scenes simply begin and end abruptly. Many scenes begin half-way into a situation, which left me bewildered -- was I not paying attention. At times, the entire movie feels like one giant deleted scene.

The leaden script is given no assistance from the actors. Ford is supposed to appear older here, as to contrast his character to Hartnett’s, but he comes off as REALLY old and very bored as well. Ford looks half-asleep throughout the film, and never evokes any emotion. Hartnett may as well be playing a piece of wood, as he is unbelievably stiff, and he keeps his voice very low, as if he’s a late-night DJ or something, and is often hard to understand. The film has an interesting supporting cast, including Dwight Yoakam playing yet another bad guy and Keith David as Joe and K.C.’s superior, but it’s hard to get past the fact that the main actors simply don’t seem to care. It pains me to blast any film that tries to introduce the audience to a new idea, but Hollywood Homicide is a true bomb -- a film with a great cast and a proven director that never gets anything right.

Hollywood Homicide has been arrested on DVD by Columbia/Tri-Star Home Entertainment. This disc contains both the full-frame and widescreen versions of the film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The DVD features an anamorphic transfer and the film has been letterboxed at 2.40:1. The image looks fantastic, as the picture is crystal clear, showing no grain or defects from the source print. The film has been shot in a very natural style, and the colors look fine and the fleshtones are all realistic looking. There is no overt evidence of problems from edge-enhancement or artifacting, and the image has a great deal of depth. The DVD carries an excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, which provides clear and audible dialogue...except when Hartnett is speaking. The track features breath-taking surround sound effects and the bass response is wall-shaking. It always breaks my heart to find an audio/video transfer this good for a movie this bad.

As Hollywood Homicide only made back $45 million of its $75 million budget, it’s not surprising that the DVD doesn’t contain many extras. It is surprising that the disc contains no deleted scenes because, 1. It’s clear scenes are missing, and 2. director Ron Shelton mentions deleted scenes in his audio commentary, which is the only real extra feature here. Shelton speaks at length throughout the film, and explains what the movie was supposed to be, but never concedes that the film is a failure. The DVD also contains the film’s theatrical trailer and filmographies for the primary cast and crew.

3 out of 10 Jackasses

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