Thursday, June 8, 2017

Junesploitation Day 8: Cops!

In handcuffs or a paper bag, he doesn't care how he brings them in!

90 comments:

  1. COPS! DOUBLE-BARREL SHOTGUN:

    Don Siegel's DIRTY HARRY (1971, 102 min.) on Blu-ray.

    A serial killer calling himself 'Scorpio' ("Hellraiser's" Andrew Robinson) kills a woman in a high-rise pool, then threatens in a letter he will kill either a Catholic Priest or... an ethnic slur that major John Vernon refuses to say outloud (ask Bill Maher what the offensive word is; better yet, don't! :-O ) unless his $100K ransom demands are met. Enter Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood), the San Francisco detective of last resort to do the "dirty" things every other cop in the department won't touch. From bank robbers to suicide jumpers to rescuing kidnapped teenagers, Callahan is the man that gets the job done at the expense of a rotating cast of shot/incapacitated partners. The wife of the latest partner Harry loses while trying to catch Scorpio asks him why he still does his job. 'I really don't know' Harry says in a moment of rare self-reflection.

    That moment, like every scene in "Die Hard" where Bruce Willis doesn't want to fight and would rather go home, is what separates "Dirty Harry" from its sequels and every wannabe movie/TV cop that followed in the wake of its wild success. Harry doesn't want to be a supercop, but has to become one when the institutions and criminals (most of them nameless characters) force him to take the law in his own hands. You can see Clint become a movie icon in the 'Do you feel lucky, punk?' scenes that bookend this flick, but one of them is a bluff that betrays that luck has as much to do with Callahan's ability to come out on top as persistence. A lean, mean and socially-conscious cop movie, which comes very highly recommended.


    JUDGEMENT DAY (1999, 95 min.) on Hulu for the first time.

    Shamelessly riding the coattails of 1998's "Armageddon" (including cheap CG destructions of a Peruvian town and all of San Francisco), this direct-to-video action flick capitalizes on its excellent title with a great bonkers premise. The only scientist (played by "Mortal Kombat's" Johnny Cage actor) with knowledge of how to activate a mechanism that will blow up an asteroid that will wipe out Earth is kidnapped by religious zealot Thomas Payne (Mario Van Peebles) and his main henchman (Tommy 'Tiny' Lister, this film's producer) who want humanity to be wiped out for its sins. Who's the US military gonna call? Wrongly-imprisoned supercop Ice-T and FBI agent Suzy Amis, who have less than three days to track down Payne and rescue super scientist Johnny Cage using T's street smarts and hood connections. 'I-JUST-WANTED-TO-SAY-GOOD-LUCK-WE'RE-ALL-COUNTING-ON-YOU'-SPLOITATION! :-)

    Forget the Coolio cameo as "Lucifer" and Ice-T's 'Don't Hate the Playa' song in the flick's soundtrack (twice!). It's all about from-the-hood T bringing by-the-book white cop Amis down to his 'playing dirty' level to save the world and patch their differences as they trade quips along the way. They're not that different when they look past their race and social differences, don't you know? [Sigh!] Not as good as its premise and cast would lead one to believe, "Judgement Day" is entertaining because it's everything you imagine it will be. Nothing more, nothing less.

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    1. I love Dirty Harry. It got a lot of flack when it came out for being a "fascist" movie, an assessment with which I strongly disagree. So did the filmmakers, who next made Magnum Force to show what fascist cops really looked like.

      What I find so interesting about the first Dirty Harry film is how it makes Harry and Scorpio two sides of the same coin. They're both loners, closet voyeurs, and use weapons normally reserved for hunting. Having Scorpio be a dark doppelgänger for Harry adds immeasurably to the film's interest, and puts it way above any of its sequels.

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    2. I love Dirty Harry too! Something about Andrew Robinsons performance as Scorpio feels dangerous.

      That's an awesome way of looking at it Steve! Now I have to re-watch it with that in mind.

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  2. Beyond the Law aka Fixing the Shadow aka Made of Steel (1993, dir. Larry Ferguson)

    Charlie Sheen's undercover cop with a tortured soul infiltrates an arms-dealing biker gang led by Michael Madsen. (I watched an Emilio Estevez movie on Cars! day, so thought it only fair to watch a Charlie Sheen movie as well.)

    This feels like a biker movie written by someone who knows as much about the biker culture as me. It's ridiculous. Linda Fiorentino is hot (well duh) and Leon Rippy is fun as Sheen's goofy "mentor", but that's about all the positive I have to say about it.

    (I let J.M. have this one. But don't tell him I said that.)

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  3. Maniac Cop (1988)

    I got copy of this last year after of lot of people seemed to like it for Junesploitation. I am glad I finally caught up with it. It's a movie that knows what it is, but doesn't need to show off too much and does it job well. It's pretty solid. Besides I am always up for a movie with my man Tom Atkins!

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    1. Just bought the second and the third, might as well get the set :)

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  4. Blue Steel (1990)

    I'm not sure what's more surprising, that it was so hard for me to find Cop movies starring women that I had never seen, or that there was a movie directed by Kathryn Bigelow and starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Clancy Brown which I hadn't bothered to watch until now. Clearly Blue Steel doesn't have a reputation for being one of Bigelow's best movies which I guess is fair to an extent, but it also isn't a movie that should be easily dismissed either.

    Ron Silver plays such a smug psycho that it really gives Curtis something to play off of in the back half of the movie although even with only a small amount of screen time Richard Jenkins' turn as the serial killer's lawyer might top Silver as the character you most want to see take a bullet. Clancy Brown doesn't get a whole lot to do but I can't think of any movie that's worse for having him in it. So yeah, everyone involved here has done better movies but Blue Steel is still pretty solid and worth a watch.

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    1. All I remember from that movie is how outrageously over the top (in a good way) Ron Silver's evil villain is.

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    2. I really liked this movie, I will probably rewatch it again soon.

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  5. Wolf Cop (2014)

    I'm a Wolfcop, can't hide from a Wolfcop. I miss rap songs that explain the movie you just saw.

    Yes, this movie feels like a genre experiment. But it is such a fun experiment, I could have easily had more (and lets be honest you can say that about most movies). For me it was such an easy movie to have fun with. Especially Leo Farfard's alcoholic. Wolfcop and Johnathan Cherry's Willie Higgins, just the way he said 'I could sell you to science' made me giggle. But I giggled a lot during this movie.

    Also the most painful looking transformaration I have come across, even I had to cross my legs.

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    1. It's so fun. It gets a bad rap but I enjoyed the hell out of it.

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    2. I agree, it is so much fun!

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  6. McQ (1974)

    John Wayne turned down the lead in Dirty Harry (1971), a decision he came to regret when he saw the finished film. He finally got his chance to play a cop-on-the-edge with this film. It’s no Dirty Harry, but it’s not bad. Actually, it reflects pretty accurately the deep cynicism of the mid-70s, where traditional institutions (like the police) seemed to be crumbling with nothing to take their place. McQ may be ultimately on the side of good, but he ends up breaking at least as many laws as the bad guys. In one scene he roughs up a dealer, steals his cocaine, and gives it to an informant in exchange for information. Imagine! The Duke himself giving coke to a woman. Actually, this is the best scene in the movie. The informant is played beautifully by Coleen Dewhurst as a sad, lonely woman beaten down by life. She’s reluctant to give McQ the information he wants, because she knows the second he gets it he’s out the door. Featured roles are given to McQ’s “green hornet” car, a beautiful Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, and his weapon, a MAC-10 with a big-ass silencer. I think the MAC-10 has more space on the movie poster than Wayne himself. Sign of the times, I suppose.

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  7. Miami Vice (2006):

    Struck out streaming again with Stray Dog, so I decided to go with one Patrick's been championing for years. I wasn't disappointed. Gong Li. Sploosh.

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    1. Theatrical or Directors Cut?

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    2. Both were available on iTunes, but I went with DC because I remember Patrick speaking more fondly of that one.

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    3. YouTube the opening in the Theatrical. It's something they should have kept because it's amazing.

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    4. Mann is Lucas-ing his movies. He altered Miami Vice, Heat (very minor, but still), and recently Ali (he made it even worse).

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    5. Speaking of - I bought the new Blu Ray "Director's Definitive Release" of Heat and while the sound is greatly improved (which was my biggest gripe) he still omitted dialog including parts of the monologue that Diane Venora where I swear there was a line at some point where she says something about "sifting through the detritus".

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    6. Apparently I can't form a sentence today.

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    7. Yeah that line and one other was removed. Those are the only changes.

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    8. @Matt - Ali got worse? My goodness. I bought the alternative version cut but haven't watched it yet. I really don't like that movie because I've seen When We Were Kings and the Ali in that in no way resembles Smith's interpretation.

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    9. Yeah I bought the anniversary cut as well because I love Mann. I love all of his movies except Ali (even The Keep is pretty rad). He shifted some stuff around and now it seems to drag even more than before, and even more unimportant moments are highlighted. It inexplicably now ends with "Muhammad Ali 1942-2016" which seems weird to me but whatever. I do agree with you that what Will Smith is doing, while something, doesn't capture Ali that well. Watch the underrated Blackhat instead.

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  8. Colors (1988) (First Time Viewing):

    Excellent Movie. Dennis Hopper expertly directs this Cop Drama starring Robert Duvall and Sean Penn and a young Don Cheadle. It beautifully showcases sun-drenched late-80’s LA, and has a score by Herbie Hancock. What’s not to like? How has it taken me so long to see this? The Shout Factory Blu-Ray is awesome #PhysicalMedia4Life.

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    1. When I was in college, we used to play a drinking game where we'd watch Colors and take a drink every time someone used the f word. YOU. WILL. NOT. MAKE. IT. THROUGH.

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    2. Haha the same could be said for "holmes". Seeing Robert Duvall say "What's up, holmes?" is delightful.

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    3. I just rewatched this 2 weeks ago on my old school MGM dvd, because I was considering buying the blu ray and it is still pretty amazing Blink and you'll miss Mario Lopez who has fhe high profile role of "Felipe's friend". Penn is great as the lead, although the part was orinally intended for Mickey Rourke, which would have been interesting. It's kind of amazing that Robert Duvall has been playing crotchety old men for 30 years now.

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  9. Demolition Man (1993)

    I just love this movie so much.

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  10. Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man (1976)

    Oh Italians, is there any genre you can't make completely insane? The opening motorcycle chase alone is more crazy fun than some entire movies I've watched for Junesploitation so far (I'm looking at you, Stick). Aside from some very unfortunate misogyny and animal cruelty (#RIPSeeingEyeDog) there's a lot of good stuff here, but I wouldn't blame anyone for skipping out due to some of those more unsavory elements.

    The story follows a pair of cops who revel in wanton violence and destruction. They report to a captain (Adolfo Celi, known to 007 fans as the villainous Emilio Largo in Thunderball), but that doesn't seem to matter much as they go around chasing, shooting, burning, breaking necks, etc. with no regard whatsoever for rules of any sort. All crimes, even just suspected crimes, are punishable by violent death. This would probably make a pretty solid (if uncomfortably nihilistic) double-feature with John Michael McDonagh's latest, War on Everyone.

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  11. Dark Blue (2002)

    I know, I know... It's not an exploitation flick, but I've been meaning to get to this ever since Patrick first recommended it (I can't even remember when that was). I figured it fit with today's theme and that was as much incentive as I needed to finally see it.

    And it's really, really good! Kurt Russell is so convincingly great in it that, at times, it's actually disconcerting to watch him play such a horrible human being.

    Patrick, I just wanted to say thanks for the heads up, and to see if you know why I've never heard of the movie apart from this site. I like the director, and I like everybody involved. Is there any particular reason why it doesn't get more love?

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  12. TWISTED JUSTICE (1990)

    Estrada AND Jim Brown in the future.

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  13. Out for Justice (1991, dir. John Flynn)

    Detective Steven Seagal's partner is murdered in broad daylight, so Seagal goes on a tour of the city's underbelly to find the killer.

    The few fight scenes are excellent, the Brooklyn accents are entertaining and William Forsythe's over-the-top bad guy is fun, but there are also long stretches of boredom and uncomfortable scenes of Seagal trying to act.

    Also enjoyable was the IMDb trivia section, with stories about Seagal criticizing Brooklyn-born Forsythe's accent and claiming he's immune to being choked unconscious, then being proven wrong.

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  14. MANIAC COP 2 (1990)
    The Jason-Voorhees-in-a-cop-uniform is back for more killing. This sequel is ambitious, attempting to explore the Maniac Cop’s character by having him befriend a fellow killer (reminiscent of the old blind man from Bride of Frankenstein) and later offering him a chance to clear his name. I think I liked the first one more, but this sequel is good in that they continued the narrative rather than repeat themselves.

    PSYCHO COP 2 (1993)
    The Psycho Cop returns, stalking a bunch of office workers who stay at the office after hours for a party. Another horror-comedy, except this time the Psycho Cop doesn’t make as many jokes, with all the other characters being the funny ones. You’re not missing much.

    SAMURAI COP 2 (2015)
    The cast of the original reunites, except everybody’s in on the joke this time. Rather than a full-on spoof, though, there's some attempt to recreate the look and feel of the first movie. The problem is, the makers of the original thought they were making a real action movie. The people making this one are just doing more Samurai Cop. There’s a ton of craziness on screen, yet I was bored.

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  15. The Golden Child (1986, dir. Michael Ritchie)

    Well, that was certainly a movie for somebody..I'm sure not that somebody.

    Downs: hackneyed writing, choppy editing, Eddie Murphy obnoxiousness

    Ups: Charlotte Lewis is beautiful, always nice to see Victor Wong show up

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    1. I'm sorry but I love the hell out of the movie, warts and all!

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    2. I'm in the Golden Child Appreciation Society too. A lot of it is definitely nostalgia for finding it weird and fascinating as a kid.

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    3. Terrible movie, but Charles Dance makes it tolerable.

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  16. Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

    I'm sure Mel is at his happiest, in a straitjacket. I thought I had heard that this movie was a big step down from the original? But I disagree, it's great. A little less serious in tone, but will all the action of the first and the same comedic chemistry between Riggs and Murtaugh.

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    1. I have always liked L.W 2. Yes it's goofier than the orginal and they learned all thr lessons. You're right about the chemistry between Gibson and Glover. I have always loved the smile they give each other just before they have to lauch Glover off the exploiding toliet. Which is a sentence I never thought I would write.

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    2. "Diplomatic immunity!" - Rudd

      "Has just been revoked!" - Murtaugh

      My goodness, everyone is chewing up the scenery in this. It's so much fun.

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  17. Street Law (1974)

    After Franco Nero is beaten and robbed by a group of thugs, he loses faith in the useless cops (Cops!) and decides to take the law into his own hands for some bloody revenge!

    It's a solid Italian crime thriller! It took me some time to get into it, but once I did I really dug it. I definitely consider myself a fan of Franco Nero, and his performance is exploding with over the top intensity. The violence is (as expected for an Italian film) brutal and cruel, and the music is awesome. Love the well placed rock songs with on the nose lyrics.

    Hey, tomorrow I'm driving to Chicago with some friends to attend the Summer Scares show at the patio theater! 4 horror films in a row! If any F-heads are attending, let me know I'd love to meet some of you guys.

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  18. Double Feature: Fatal Beauty (1987) & Murphy's Law (1986)

    Remember watching Fatal Beauty as a kid and thinking Sam Elliott was just so cool and have loved the guy ever since (he's definitely the best General Ross). This is pretty much MGM's version of Beverly Hills Cop with Whoopi Goldberg in the Eddie Murphy role. A who's who of recognisable character actors turn up throughout with the ever entertaining Brad Dourif as the movie's crazy main villain. There's nothing new here really but it's still great fun and it's great to see Whoopi kick ass before she got in the habit.

    Murphy's Law is exactly what you'd expect from a Charles Bronson Golan & Globus joint, alcoholic cop, vendetta's, double crossing and some of the most ridiculous one liners. It's a little all over the place and has one of the oddest forced love side stories I've seen between a 60 year old Bronson and a character who appears to be 17. The films climax builds up to a set piece with potential which fails to deliver. It's not Bronson's worst but it's not his best either.

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  19. L.A. Takedown (1989) Dir. Michael Mann

    As a big fan of Mann's "Heat" I've always wanted to see this as it's his first version of said film. 99% of it is exactly the same including similarities in script, story and scenes. It's an interesting watch. I would liken it to when musicians release "demo" versions of their songs. It's rough around the edges, but you can see why he wanted to try and make it how he envisioned later in his career. Having seen "Heat" a million times and knowing the characters, it was really interesting seeing Michael Rooker as Bosco and Xander Berkerly as Waingro whom Kevin Gage played in "Heat". It's like seeing a play version with different actors of a film you love so it's hard to separate the performances you are so used to. Also of note, Pacino's portrayal of Hanna is slicker and suaver than Scott Plank's version, but many of his mannerisms, including snapping his fingers and the way he stands, are still evident. Was this scripted for the character or did Pacino watch "L.A. Takedown" and like that element of Vincent? Dunno.

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    1. Can I ask how you saw this? I've always wanted to see it, even more after reading your take.

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    2. YouTube, the destroyer of all things sacred. The killer of that feeling you would get when browsing through a bargin bin and coming across that gem you've been looking for year after year.

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    3. Ha ha ha, genius!!! That is the most astute description of YouTube I've ever heard.

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  20. Nighthawks (1981)

    I may have built this movie up in my head a little too much, and it was not the movie I thought it would be, maybe it was a bit more typical cop movie that I was expecting. But I was still able to settle in with this movie and by the end it did like it. Though I love shots of gritty almost falling apart New York. Then the movie reminds me oh yeah, disco was big at time.

    I liked Stallones maybe a little too stoic performance, and especially the way he bookends the movie, but as I get older I am really starting to dig on Rutgar Hauer. When he gets a chance to really dig his teeth into something he's really mesmerizing. And he is great here, and for me completely stole the movie.

    So what I am trying to say is, I am gosing to have to watch this movie again and I need to watch more Rutger Hauer movies.

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  21. Lindsay, My wife's granddad is a retired NYC cop. One of his jobs was to dress as a "bag lady" in the subways to try and arrest muggers. He's in one of the scenes in Nighthawks and has a bunch of pictures of him and Stallone goofing around. Story you didn't ask for but this is what I think about every time this movie comes up. He's such an old school New Yorker that he calls me "baby" and always asks what the gambling spread is on the Yankees. Haha. Love it.

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    1. That is an awesome story story I may not have asked for, but it is one I needed!

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    2. That story was awesome Chaybee!

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    3. Haha, thanks! He's a fun guy!

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  22. The Seven-Ups (1973, dir. Philip D'Antoni) on YouTube

    Just what the doctor ordered - a straight up, no frills police procedural with a great cast (Roy Scheider, Tony Lo Bianco, Richard Lynch), evocative New York winter photography, taut dialogue, a suspenseful score, and a Bullitt-tier car chase (featuring the same stunt driver from Bullitt). So, so good.

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  23. Rush Hour (1998): I haven't seen thus in years but still have boh this and the sequel on DVD for some reason. It was okay. Surprising amount of racsim though. There were some fun parts at least.

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  24. Psycho Cop (1989)

    It sounds like a basic riff on William Lustig's Maniac Cop (1988), but this one tends to focus more on the elements of a slasher film and doesn't take itself too seriously. Take a group of teenagers being stalked by a lunatic cop who is filled with bad one-liners and there you have it. There's really not much else to say, but it sure makes it a fun film to watch if you're into low budget slashers.

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  25. The Hollow Point (2016)

    It looked good on paper. A Noir-ish Western with Ian McShane, Patrick Wilson and John Leguizamo. It clearly wants to be a Coen Brothers movie, but all it manages is being nasty and nihilistic. At least Ian McShane seemed to be having fun as a drunken, corrupt Sheriff. Patrick Wilson is perfect for this role, he's doing the same thing he was in the absolutely perfect second season of Fargo. Too bad the movie wasn't any good.

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  26. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

    There's a part where the chief tells the bomb expert to get out of the building soon because it "takes 1 minute 15 if you're a kid." How big is this school?! How did the fire Marshall miss this? Honestly, I live on the 17th floor, and I'm pretty sure I can get out in under 75 seconds.

    Petty gripes aside, I like this movie a whole lot. It's a worthy successor to Die Hard. Plus, Rob said all the handsome people were watching it. I wanna be handsome.

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  27. Samurai Cop (1991)
    I fell asleep for a while and I think I advanced further than the plot. Still a blast! 10/10 would sleep during again.

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    1. How could you fall asleep during this?!

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    2. It was following a crazy long day, and I think I dozed of during one of the many smooth jazz sex scenes.

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  28. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call: New Orleans (2009)

    Questions you may ask yourself after watching TBL:PoC:NO:


    Port of Call?
    What's with the lizard stuff?
    Does Nicholas Cage know he's in a movie?

    This is a crazy movie with all sorts of weird performances and dialogue but I think it's kinda good? I don't know any of Herzog's fictional films so I'd be interested to know if it feels like a Herzog movie.

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    1. Is that one movie? Why does it have so many titles? haha

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    2. I haven't seen Bad Lieutenant in years, I remember it being crazy and Nick Cage being Nick Cage. I can recommend that you check out some other Herzog fictional stuff. Aguirre Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo came up in the comments lately and on Pure Cinema and they are really worth checking out! I've been itching to check out the rest of his work since I saw those.

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    3. It's fantastic. Nicolas Cage doing what he does best. He's completely insane. Don't bother watching it unless you have your lucky crack pipe. To the break of dawn.

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    4. "De colon is de English language's most metaphysical punctuation - it begs you both to stop and continue, much like the eternal struggle between life and death." -Me doing my Werner Herzog impersonation

      Chayse - yeah, Werner's early stuff is a big gap for me - the two you mention in particular are high on my list.

      Brent - he really is. I started watching the "making of" documentary and Werner says something about the "glee of being evil" which I definitely got a sense of from Cage's performance. Like this guy is just fully embracing being the most corrupt cop ever. I'd actually recommend the doc if you've got the disc - so far it features both Val Kilmer doing a pretty good Herzog impression and Werner like fucking booting it out of the shot several times after he does the scene marker himself. Good stuff!

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    5. I do have it so I'll check it out. Thanks, Sol!

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  29. Samurai Cop (1991) (First time viewing)

    Samurai Cop's haircut is my spirit animal. Thanks so much Patrick for pointing out that this is streaming. The entertainment factor is off the charts. Made my Junesploitation.

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  30. Hot Fuzz (2007)

    I think I may have watched Hot Fuzz for Cops day last year, but I'm Edgar Wright obsessed right now, so I used today as an excuse to watch this again. I tried switching it up a bit, however, and I watched it with the Wright/Simon Pegg commentary. Their commentaries are always great and I can't recommend them enough. This one is filled with references to The Simpsons, Tony Scott, their favorite police dogs and Edgar's man crushes on Jon Spencer and Clint Eastwood. It's so much fun.

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    1. Yep, you did watch "Hot Fuzz" last year. What can I say 'Ba'? You're 'nothing if not completely predictable.' ;-)

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  31. Hard Boiled (1992)
    There are not many cops that are more badass than Chow Yun-fat's Inspector Tequila, and Tony Leung Chiu-wai's Alan.
    Hard Boiled is my favorite of Woo's films (please don't hit me, fans of The Killer. It's amazing too), and Woo's influence on action cinema around the world, is unquestionable.

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  32. Psycho Cop Returns (1993, dir. Adam Rifkin) I like Adam Rifkin, but between this and The Invisible Maniac I'm not really sold on this Rif Coogan character. The locations feel cheap because they are, the stripping and sex scenes feel endless because they are and Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration's one liners grow tiresome really, really quickly. I think I should probably like this but it was a real slog to get through.

    Deadly Hero (1975, dir. Ivan Nagy) Don Murray plays a real shit of a New York cop who saves a hostage by murdering the perp and becomes a hero, but wants to silence the woman he saved from revealing the truth about what happened. I love these super gritty crime movies of the '70s and Don Murray is great as a racist piece of garbage. A young Treat Williams shows up as his partner too! Recommended.

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  33. Death Warrant (1990)

    This is the weirdest Van Damme movie I think I've seen and that's saying something. I looked it up and this was a Cannon movie that went to MGM when Cannon went under. That makes a little more sense. I don't think I liked thia one all that much. The Sandman is going to haunt my dreams forever too, so there's that.

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    1. I had the exact same reaction when I recently re-watched this for the first time in 20 years. I mean, like nothing really happens. There's barely any fighting for the entire first hour of the movie. I was perplexed and bored.

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    2. It's a weird movie. There are certain scenes that begin without any continuity or establishing shots, the plot doesn't make sense, I don't understand the main villain...I can defend a lot of deep cut Van Damme but this is definitely lower-half of his catalog for me.

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  34. Samurai Cop (1989)

    Holy shit, you guys. If you can track down the DVD, there's a commentary track by Joe Bob Briggs that's absolutely brilliant. It's worth it just to hear Joe Bob rattle off every porn movie the killer nurse has been in right off the top of his head. The whole thing is great, highly recommend.

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  35. Samurai Cop (1991)

    It's everything you want it to be.

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  36. Dirty Harry (1971, dir. Don Siegel)
    Magnum Force (1973, dir. Ted Post)
    The Enforcer (1976, dir. James Fargo)
    Sudden Impact (1983, dir. Clint Eastwood)
    The Dead Pool (1988, dir. Buddy Van Horn)
    I'd never seen any of the Dirty Harry sequels, so I decided to rewatch the original, then bust through the whole rest of the franchise in a day. The first movie is a classic, an elemental tale of ultimate good versus ultimate evil. Scorpio kills because he must, and Harry's reason for protecting people is the same. He's a superhero, and Scorpio's a supervillain, not because either has any superhuman abilities, but because both are absolutely defined by their assumed roles, excluding all other traits of humanity. The city feels like a real place, and the iconography of every aspect (Harry's stoicism, his partner's naivete, the uselessness of the existing law enforcement system, and the extremity of Scorpio's crimes,) feel natural and appropriate to the casually apocalyptic attitude of the film overall. This sense of genuineness and wholeness immediately disappears after the first movie. The second plays more by slasher movie rules than superhero, and by the third we've already reached comedy. The gimmick of providing a new partner every installment has already reached tediousness by this point. Part four seems totally uninterested in being a Dirty Harry movie, and straight breaks the character by doing things like giving him a love interest and a comedic relief FARTING DOG, and making him sympathetic to the villain. Part five is near complete waste of time: self-important, self-satisfied, but crass, and worst of all, boring. It even manages to make Liam Neeson annoying. The only worthwhile trick up its sleeve is it's epically goofy car chase; if you've seen it, you know which one I'm talking about. The franchise's additional gimmick of basing cases on then-current events is also lame, but its minor gimmick of recasting Albert Popwell in multiple roles across the movies was fun. (But by part five, even he is gone.)

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    1. I have a soft spot in my movie-loving heart for "Magnum Force." It's the trashy movie that people who haven't seen either accuse "Dirty Harry of being, indulging in the excesses and brain-dead violence that in the original are important elements that propel the narrative along. "Sudden Impact" pulls the series out of the dive a little (it has one of THE iconic lines in Eastwood's entire filmography), but they're all pale shadows of Don Siegel's original.

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  37. Across 110th Street (1972)

    This movie has a lot to say and is pretty amazing in its execution.

    All of the performances are fantastic. Anthony Quinn feels unhinged as the corrupt, violent, racist, and aging Harlem police officer. Yaphet Koto plays a cop rising through the ranks trying to make his mark on his own terms, aside from his race. Both are amazing, Quinn with his explosive temper mixed with subtle looks of sympathy, and Koto with his unwavering faith in the law and his imposing presence.

    There is one scene in particular (where the pair break the news to a suspects wife that he has passed away) that is really powerful. How Quinn interacts with the children and both of their white lies show just how much these two care about their city, even if they use different methods to clean it up.

    The movie feels really honest and current. If they were to make a movie about racism in the police force and about life in Harlem, without any concern for political correctness. This would be it.

    This would also be an awesome choice for Blaxploitation day! Bobby Womack was right though, across 110th street is a hell of a tester.

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    1. Oh this sounds awesome - I am definitely tracking this one down thanks!

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  38. God Told Me To (1976)

    Interesting concept. Great opening. Like all 70s movies, it drags in the middle. Goes to a place you won't expect. Doesn't save the movie but it's not terrible. 5 out of 10

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