Sunday, June 27, 2021

Junesploitation 2021 Day 27: Cops!



    REGAN, aka 'THE SWEENEY' PILOT MOVIE (1974, YouTube --English CC--)
    for the first time.

    Bear with me while I dump on you some background info, or the next three reviews will make no goddamned sense. Yes, 'Sweeney' is a reference to the famous "Sweeney Todd" theatrical play from 1973 that eventually inspired the 1979 Broadway musical from which the Johnny Depp 2005 movie got its full name. British TV cop drama "The Sweeney" (1975-1978), named after a Cockney rhyming slang for the term 'flying squadron,' revolves around a team of coppers working for London's Metropolitan Police bringing down dangerous armed robbers, gangsters, etc. Never seen an episode (they're streaming on BritBox if you're a subscriber) but, based on this pilot movie named after the titular character played by John Thaw (TV's "Inspector Morse," looking a lot older than he actually is), it looks/feels like the UK equivalent of "Starsky & Hutch." "The Sweeney" was even filmed in 16mm and shot outdoors, so it avoids the shot-on-video-inside-a-studio curse that affects many a UK show from this era ("Doctor Who," etc.). And like much media of the 70's, Detective Inspector Jack Reagan (Thaw) and his #2 Det. Sar. Jack Carter (Dennis Waterman) are jaded working class stiffs that fight bureaucrats within their department as much as they do the criminals. Got all that?

    The 74-min. pilot establishes the setting, characters and chemistry between all the leads just fine. It's also clear that these coppers are more chatty than trigger-happy because nothing important really happens outside of a hand-to-hand brawl between the Flying Squadron and a gang of thugs (recreated in the first movie with better everything). I just saw this movie an hour or so ago and I can't remember much of anything that was said and done. Consider a viewing of this or any episode of "The Sweeney" an appetizer for you to contrast with the main course below. 2.5 PERP CORPSES HIDDEN UNDER FIREWOOD BRUSH (out of 5).

  2. SWEENEY! (1977, Blu-ray) for the first time.

    "The Sweeney" was such a successful TV series in the UK that a theatrical feature was commissioned. "Sweeney!" features a timely-for-its-era plot about a British cabinet minister's vote being up for grabs by clandestine financial powers that want to increase the price of oil worldwide. And well-connected, wolf-in-sheep's-clothing mastermind Elliott McQueen (Barry Foster) would have gotten away with his nefarious plot if he hadn't murdered the prostitute mistress of Ronnie Brent (Joe Melia), D.I. Regan's prized informant. It feels odd for a motion picture inspired by a still-airing TV series (which rarely happens: "The X-Files," "The Simpsons," etc.) to not only keep its leads in the dark about details of the plot the audience knows for most of its running time, but to also bring the beloved characters audiences want to see down to their lowest point. Regan is framed as a drunk driver by McQueen's thugs so his already-compromised word has no value as a suspended copper, Carter abandons his partner rather than help him, etc.

    Nobody gets more fiery pissed-off than John Thaw when Regan loses his shit. That's true in the TV pilot and both theatrical features, so I assume it's like that on the TV show. Despite check-marking every cop movie cliché (sleeping with hookers, losing his badge, etc.) "Sweeney!" is a fun ride. It looks terrific in 35mm (sharp and colorful photography) and gets away with more swearing, bare breasts and violent shoot-outs than the TV series ever could. It's a neat time capsule of late 70's era working class coppers rubbing shoulders with above-the-law diplomats living in splendor. An entertaining-if-you're-patient police procedural. 3.25 MEDIA INCORPORATED 70's COMPUTER TERMINALS (out of 5).

  3. SWEENEY! 2 (1978, Blu-ray) for the first time.

    Except for a slight downgrade in the violence and nudity (though we still get a handful of both), "Sweeney! 2" is more of the same we got in the first movie. A group of professional bank robbers wielding a gold-coated, sawed-off Purdey shotgun leaves civilian/accomplice corpses throughout London streets. D.I. Regan, feeling guilty for not lending a hand to help his busted-for-corruption superior ("Indiana Jones'" Denholm Elliott), has to not only help Sgt. Carter (Dennis Waterman) track the criminals but also deal with a gulp... new polite, vegetarian driver who doesn't eat KFC or stuffs a pint after work! :-O The investigation onto the bank heists brings Regan and Carter to Malta (nice change of scenery), and a sizable portion of the narrative is devoted to a single joke about British government workers using any excuse (like a Beirut-born French bomber disarming his own bomb in a hotel room) to get free drinks.

    There are a couple of standout scenes bear the end in which Regan, his face splashed with the blood of a robber he's been chasing after, has a momentary mental breakdown before recomposing and dancing a cheeky Irish jig at a pub after work. That's our working class Brit hero in a nutshell, and John Thaw makes it look easy (it isn't). Blink and you'll miss Sir Nigel Hawthorne as The Sweeney's new chief superintendent. 3 NAZI S&M PORNO FILM REELS WITH TOPLESS DOMINATRIX ATOP A PANTHER DE VILLE [NSFW :-O] (out of 5).

  4. Clint Eastwood's SUDDEN IMPACT (1983, Blu-ray). Also streaming on HBO Max and TUBI.

    The last great entry into the 'Dirty Harry' franchise, featuring THE SIGNATURE LINE of Clint Eastwood's entire filmography. Yes, Don Siegel established the template and created a pop culture sensation with his 1971 anti-hero vigilante cop movie. But most people now forget that 1983's "Sudden Impact" (a) was the most financially successful of the "DH" movies ($150 million at the box office, a rarity for a 4th installment), (b) it's the only film in the franchise directed by Eastwood that (c) feels like the star/director finding his own creative stamp (some Siegel, a little Leone, but 100% Clint), and (d) breaks the series' mold by taking place mostly in a small coastal California town far from San Francisco streets. Harry Callahan's S.F. superiors assign him a low-priority homicide case as an excuse to ship him to San Paulo, where Chief Jannings (Pat Hingle) makes it clear his one-man justice theatrics will not be tolerated. As a killing spree and pattern start to unfold, though, Callahan and his dog Meathead (!) stumble upon a criminal element far more vicious than he anticipated.

    If you haven't seen "Sudden Impact" yet please stop reading and go in cold. No spoilers here, but it's so enjoyable for an iconic cop series that was the 70's poster child for justified-at-any-cost police brutality to get shades of grey and much needed female characters that aren't just for show. Sondra Locke (Clint's muse and lover for several decades) and Audrie Neenan give two completely different performances, but they're both memorable and invested in their portrayals of damaged characters (one seeking redemption, one going down real hard). Paul Drake overacts a storm as a psycho villain, and Pat Hingle plays small city Commissioner Gordon like an a-hole pro. It doesn't pay to be Harry Callahan's best black friend (sorry Albert Popwell! :'( ), but if you can take all the anger directed at Harry as part of the fabric this franchise is made of you'll find "Sudden Impact" to be an awkward-but-potent mix of dark comedy (Harry causing a heart attack on a perp he can't nail legally) and searing psychological terror (rape against women, and lots of it!). Don't let the uber-shitty Lalo Schifrin music during the opening credits deceive you, once things settle down "Sudden Impact" has a decent, suspenseful score. It's an intense film with something to say and the last Harry Callahan movie made to be worth a damn. 4.25 RETIREMENT BUSES CHASING AFTER COP-SHOOTING PERPS (out of 5).

  5. Andrew Davis' CODE OF SILENCE (1985, Amazon Prime) for the first time. Also streaming with ads on TUBI and PLUTO.

    Like Davis' 1988 opus "Above the Law" or 1993's "The Fugitive," "Code of Silence" should end its actors' credit roll with 'And Starring the City of Chicago as Itself.' Even more than those two movies, "Code of Silence" feels Chicago born-and-bred. Yes, the robbers hitting a police bar one-note joke probably isn't as funny as it used to be (did both perps have to be African-American youths? :-( ). Yes, the whole fucking robot with weapons thing feels like dumb pre-"Robocop" ED-209 shtick with a female voice. But "COS's" flaws (mostly dealing with budget, pace and Andrew Davis' inexperience as director) are easily tolerable when we get a silent, intense Chuck Norris getting his ass kicked in a bar (but not going down without punching hard) by Henry Silva's Colombian drug dealers, only for his Cusack character to come roaring back in an empty warehouse villain massacre. So many character actors (real-life ex-cop Dennis Farina, Ron Dean, Mike Genovese, etc.), so many great set-pieces (jump from an 'L' train into the Chicago River), such a dated sexy-sax score (David Michael Frank), so much Junesploitation! fun.

    Shame about the 'Craigie [Ralph Foody] shoots an unarmed youth and plants a gun' subplot contrasting so hard with the recent Derek Chauvin sentencing news, but that's real-life intruding into our movie fantasy world. :'( 3.75 LIMPING-DORATO HARE-BRAINED BUSINESS IDEAS (out of 5).

  6. Miami Supercops (1985, dir. Bruno Corbucci)

    Exactly five years today since one of my childhood favorites, Carlo Pedersoli aka Bud Spencer, passed. Carlo, you're missed.

    By 1985 the Terence Hill/Bud Spencer buddy comedy thing was getting a little tired, and this turned out to be their second-to-last film together (they teamed up one last time for a western in 1994). It's still pretty fun, but far from their best. Way too much plot and not enough fights, but at least Bud gets a few open-handed slaps in in the last big brawl. Love that Bud gets a love interest in a bodybuilding, arm-wrestling truck driver.

  7. Cop Land (1997 - James Mangold)
    I wanted to re-watch this flick since the podcast came out half a year ago. I've seen it once before, but never again, and I think this will change from now on. The cast is stacked, I like the story as well as the look and feel of the movie. Somehow it manages to feel big (through the people involved) and small at the same time. Maybe my favorite film this month so far? I'll have to do a ranking at the end.

  8. DIRTY HARRY (1971, dir. Don Siegel)

    “I know what you’re thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five?”

    Crossing off another film on my list of shame.

    Harry Callahan certainly is not the model policeman of modern times. He is very quick to use his gun and flagrantly ignores any notion of rights or due process to resolve a case. In the early 1970s, many seem to have seen him as hero. Dirty Harry was a controversial film even then, however. There is no denying the iconic performance of Clint Eastwood here, bringing a charming roughness to the character that one can equally admire or despise.

    Callahan’s adversary, the psychotic sniper Scorpio, is a truly repellent character in his deeds and in his arrogance. Callahan’s torture of him, although completely abhorrent, is understandable in the realm of human nature. That is still a harsh scene to watch. I have to appreciate how crazy the ending gets.

    1. See my review above for "Sudden Impact," and the reasons you should watch that "DH" movie instead of any of the other three flicks in the franchise... though I do have a soft spot for 1973's "Magnum Force." :-)

    2. Sudden Impact and The Dead Pool are the only ones I have not seen. They are all worth a watch, especially if one is a Clint Eastwood fan. The Enforcer was one of my favorite watches the year I saw it.

    3. Really? The more times I rewatch "The Enforcer" and "The Dead Pool" the more embarrassed I feel for Clint being contractually obligated to make them. :-(

    4. Though it may not hold up with repeated viewings, I found The Enforcer to amusing. It is more of a comedy in parts than a serious cop film, but that might have been exactly what I was looking for. I liked the dynamic between Callahan and Tyne Daly's character. It has probably been around five years since I watched it.

  9. Gunpowder (1986)

    Gunpowder is not the action-adventure knockoff of a '70 Italian Poliziotteschi film that I was expecting: it was the action (bad) comedy I wasn't expecting. And I can't believe Norman J. Warren, the guy who made my favorites of Satan's Slaves, Prey, and Inseminoid made this. Gunpowder is also known as Explosive Gold (a great title) and Commando Gold Crash (a crappy title that evokes a low-budget Philippines-shot Namploitation flick) in overseas markets, but here, in the U.S., it's known as Gunpowder -- because the two secret agents in this dopey Bond wannabe are named Gunn and Powder. And they're not named that for the comedy, either.

    So, our intrepid Interpol agents (played by David Gillum and Martin Potter; Potter starred in Satan's Slave, while you'll recall Gillum from the when-animals-attack classic, Frogs, and the Jaws-rip, Sharks' Treasure) are assigned by their "M" (which is known as Sir Anthony Phelps, here) to figure out who's flooding the market with a gold surplus that can ruin the world's economy. Of course, opposites must attract: Gunn is the dashing, American-bred ladies man and Powder is the proper English gent who files his nails at inopportune times because, well, it's "funny," you know, back in the days when insinuating a character was "gay" (for having proper hygiene) was funny.

    Uh, dangerous cop? Proper cop? Cue-not Lethal Weapon. And not Austin Powers, either.

    But do cue Auric Goldfinger -- only not Gert Fröbe, thank you. We'll take the lower-budgeted Dr. Vanche (David Miller . . . from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!), who's discovered the formula to manufacture synthetic gold -- and he's selling it on the open market.

    This has it all -- and it doesn't: Two martial arts baddies known as "The Cream Twins" (Alan and Brian Fontaine, if you care) who kidnap a metallurgical (lady) scientist/heiress. A super spy lair that puts Bruce Wayne's joint to cheesy shame (Adam West would have been PERFECT as the American Spy, here; it's totally in his wheelhouse). Super spy gadgets. A milk factory used as a front to smuggle liquid gold in milk cartons (ugh), which why the scientist/heiress is kidnapped. Then there's bad dialog. Failed comedic one-liners. And, instead of bullets: vats of liquid gold death traps. Then there's the stupid (ugh) costumes the bad doctor Vanche's minions wear -- with a big "V" on their chests. And Dr. V's bad gold hair. And it goes on and on . . . such as our milk heiress having the first name of "Coffee." Yuk, yuk.

    I guess you (well, moi) have to be British to appreciate this one.

  10. Special Cop in Action (1976)

    I am a conundrum. I speak up against the brutality and the militarization of our police nearly every day, but then the movies I choose to relax and watch are poliziottesco films in which cops go against the system and act nearly as bad -- if not worse -- than the criminals they are after.

    The third film in the Commissioner Betti trilogy -- after Violent Rome and Violent Naples -- Special Cop In Action is also known in Italy as Italia a mano armata (Italy at Gunpoint). This was directed by Marino Giorlami, who went from being a physical therapist to the director of films such as The Fury of Achilles and Zombie Holocaust. He's also the father of director Enzo G. Castellari.

    The mobsters in this film are the kind of Italian movie bad guys that go from realistic to super villains by the end of the film, moving from robbing banks and taking hostages to hijacking school buses filled with children.

    Cops Betti (Maurizio Merli, Highway Racer) and Ferrari (Aldo Barberito) are trying to find one of those kids when one of the criminals assaults a female cyclist, altering authorities to their hiding place. When one of the kids is killed, a mother unloads on Betti, who decides to take the place of the children as a hostage. Man, Betti gets abused throughout this movie, shot multiple times, beaten and dumped on a highway and even set up for murder.

    Man, this movie starts off hot and never slows down. Cops get dragged behind cars, John Saxon shows up, there's a J&B appearance and a downbeat ending -- the dead kid's mom and our hero have dinner when some syndicate thugs blow him away in a drive-by. I'd say that that was a massive spoiler, but that ending doesn't appear in every print, so who knows if they added it in the hopes they could make a fourth film someday. Or perhaps when they realized this was the end, they remembered it was the 70s and nearly every movie has to end with a downer, so they edited on this closing.

    Honestly, I kind of think that Betti can shrug off getting gunned down. If anything, the excessive abuse he endures in this movie is proof.

  11. Hot Fuzz (2007, dir. Edgar Wright)

    I think The World's End is my favorite of the Cornetto Trilogy, but this is the funniest.

    Police Story (Ging chaat goo si) (1985, dir. Jackie Chan & Chi-Hwa Chen)

    This might be the perfect Jackie Chan movie. All the ingredients are here in right proportions, the crazy action, the silly comedy, and a plot whose job it is to simply hang it all together.

    Weirdly, Two movies I watched today, Miami Supercops and Police Story, both featured the hero loading their revolver with some kind of an appliance that lets you load all six bullets at once. Was that a 1985 cop movie thing?

    1. My favorite of the Cornetto trilogy is whichever one I've most recently watched haha...

    2. ^^^ That is the correct answer. :-D

  12. Ok...its ironic that today is "COPS!" because it is a Cop themed program that took me away from F This for the last 24hours....and as is such im gonna drop a quick note here even though it is not a movie nor sploitation.

    Bosch Season 7 (Final Season): No spoilers. If you've never watched Bosch on prime, and have even the slightest interest in police drama, check out this show. If you have ZERO interest in police drama. Check out this show. Or if you've been a fan all along and are excited about this season, check out this show. Wow wow wow...hands down some of the best written, directed, and delivered TV ever. The show takes its time, intertwines a ton of stories and conflict, and doesnt ever fall into cheap theatrics. Its legit brilliant and for those of you who are fans i can confidently say it sticks the landing so f@#$ing well. Just remember "Everyone counts....or no one counts".

    1. "Bosch" has tempted me forever, but never taken the plunge. Every cop/legal show I've tried can't live up to my bias toward the "Law & Order" universe. That said, with seven seasons worth of stories and an approved-by-fans ending, "Bosch" feels liken a safer bet than most. :-)

  13. VICE ACADEMY (1989)
    An incredibly silly movie most famous for its many USA Up All Night airings. (Rhonda: “UP! all night.”) Two wannabe lady cops go undercover, resulting in many cheeky shenanigans. It’s a non-movie, but I must admit I found it amusing in a “they don’t make them like this anymore” kind of way.

    30 days of Chinese fantasy movies, day 27
    A couple buys a dusty old mansion for themselves to live in, and uh oh there’s a ghost. From there, it’s flashback upon flashback as we learn what’s really going on. It’s a twisty-turny blackmail plot and a lot of big relationship drama. Not quite what I was looking for as a fantasy movie, or even a haunted house movie, but I liked it enough. The performances were great and the whole thing is filmed with a lot of cool visual style.

  14. The New Centurions (1972)

    It’s rare that a movie lays on melodrama so thick that it could act as its own Mad magazine parody, but here we are. Based on the first novel by LAPD veteran Joseph Wambaugh, this follows fresh-faced rookie Stacy Keach and grizzled mentor George C. Scott through their lives as LA beat cops.

    If you’ve ever seen a movie at any point in your life (and you’re participating in Junesploitation so I imagine you have) you can predict absolutely every turn the story will take. Just ask yourself what the bleakest possible choice would be and that’s where the screenplay will go every single time. It’s numbing. On the plus side you do get to see Isabel Sanford play a hooker so it’s got that going for it. Otherwise? Yeah, I hated this.

    1. Hated-hated it, or hated-as-a-movie-but-love-it-as-a-Junesploitation!-experience?

    2. Hated on all counts, sadly.

  15. LAURA (1944, dir. Otto Preminger)

    “You seem to be disregarding something more important than your career.
    My lunch.”

    Laura is about the murder investigation of Laura Hunt, an advertising executive murdered in her apartment with a shotgun. Mark McPherson, ably played by Dana Andrews, is the detective trying to unravel Laura’s life to determine who committed the deed. As with any film noir, appearances are not always what they seem. Among the suspects is Vincent Price, who plays an unscrupulous gigolo. Though the visual style is more toned than other noirs, there is a fantastic script with dialogue like that above and a plot with several twists. As with any mystery story, the less that you the better. Quality all around with Laura.

  16. Downtown(1990)Dir: Richard Benjamin

    Anthony Edwards is a patrol officer who gets transferred from the peaceful suburbs to downtown Philadelphia after running afoul of local millionaire Jerome Sweet during a traffic stop. Once downtown Edwards learns right from the start how different things really are as he walks into the precinct and right into the middle of a shootout. Saved and used as bait by Forest Whitakers Detective Curren, Edwards then finds his car has been stripped. Edwards is forced to get a ride to work with his old partner. On the way back home the old partner stumbles on a suspicious scene and ends up murdered by Joey Pants. Edwards then annoys and persists until Whitaker reluctantly helps him in bringing down the partners murder, rich guy Sweet and a ring of car thieves.

    This is one of my preferred movies of the buddy cop genre. While the comedy and the action never reach great heights I really enjoy this movie. Yes its further down the list than some of the greats like Lethal Weapon or Running Scared but by far better than others that will remain unnamed.
    Edwards is funny and annoying as he should be. Whitaker brings a lot more gravitas to the role than you'd expect in this movie. Favorite scene is Whitaker telling Edwards about his old partner. Whitaker plays the scene like a straight drama and really puts his emotion into it. His delivery of his partners final words final words and Edwards face as he tries to remain solemn as he is obviously trying his best not to explode in laughter is great cinema.
    Not all the jokes in the movie hit though and the actions are far from big budget spectacles and of course it hits a lot of the tropes scene in other buddy cop movies. It does however have enough laughs, likable characters, an interesting enough mystery and does just enough different to keep you really entertained. Also Joey's demise is fantastic and worth the price of admission.

    you can find it for rent on Prime.

  17. BADGE 373 (1973)
    (a first-time watch via the Indicator Blu-Ray)

    Recently suspended NYC cop Robert Duvall’s partner gets his throat slit & Duvall’s gotta get to the bottom of it. A group of youngsters wearing berets & shouting “Free Puerto Rico” seems to be connected, but no one talks to Duvall except a junkie prostitute mumbling about guns. Even his commanding officer, Eddie Egan (the real-life cop whose deeds inspired this film), won’t pitch in. This neo-noir never gets as gritty or unhinged as the story could allow, but the writing isn’t quite good enough to carry the drama. Duvall is a clearly difficult hero, mired in malignance toward the Puerto Ricans & a hard-headed approach to everything. What we get in this enjoyably mediocre cop flick is a long rainy night, wet city streets, a drive-by, a busjacking, red ‘70s blood, machine gun fire & a segment during which Duvall must get back into shape after a beatdown. The whole set-up might’ve fared better in the nitro-infused mid-80s. Verna Bloom (HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER, AFTER HOURS) tries to keep it warm for our hero, recognizable exploitation regular Randy Jurgensen is a detective, writer Pete Hamill plays a reporter (he played himself in KING OF NEW YORK & 1994’s THE PAPER) & TV regular Henry Darrow plays Sweet William, a kingpin with a villainous fake mustache. Try chasing BADGE 373 with SCARFACE if you’re in dire need of five hours of medium crime cinema. “A plainclothes nun if I ever saw one.”

    1. I almost forgot the almost too-funky score; put it in the plus column.

  18. Timecop (1994) Dir. Peter Hyams

    A movie so prescient that it predicted the 2016 election, yet so shortsighted that it thinks we still watched tapes.

    1. For my money still the best use of JCVD's split move as an organic-to-the-plot desperate last move.

  19. Mou gan dou [Infernal Affairs] (2002, dir. Andrew Lau & Alan Mak)

    The inspiration for Scorsese’s The Departed, this police/gangster thriller maintains an intensity and a serious tone that many Hong Kong action films just don’t have. It’s first of a trilogy, but it works so well as a standalone movie I’m not even sure I want to pursue the sequels.

    Inspector Lau (Andy Lau) is the up-and-coming star of the Hong Kong PD, but he’s a mole for drug lord Hon Sam (Eric Tsang). Yan (Tony Leung, who you may recognize from John Woo and Wong Kar Wai films and will be in the new Marvel Shang-Chi movie) is an undercover police officer with Sam’s gang. When both sides realize they’ve been compromised, a war between cop and gangster ignites with Yan and Lau desperately trying to maintain their covers.

    It’s a very smart setup and lends itself to some great dramatic tension. The cinematography, I think, owes more to Tony Scott than it does to John Woo. The action isn’t showy or overdone, just raw and realistic.

    It was an enjoyable watch and the only element that didn’t work for me was the score being cheesy and out of place at times (then again, it might have just been the early 2000s). Tony Leung is just so fucking good in everything I’ve seen him, I feel like seeking out more in his filmography now.

  20. Collision Course (1989, dir. Lewis Teague)

    East meets West in this lark of a Buddy cop movie starring Jay Leno and Pat Morita. It’s fairly standard 80’s stuff, but there is a decent car/motorcycle chase at the end. Probably only worth watching for that, or the novelty of seeing Jay Leno “act”.

  21. HIGHWAY RACER (1977)
    D: Stelvio Massi / W: Gino Capone
    P: Giovanni Di Clemente / M: Stelvio Cipriani
    (a first-time watch via the Arrow Blu-Ray)
    Hothead cop Maurizio Merli is a hotshot driver who’s crashed one too many vehicles in the line of duty. Meanhwhile, a Frenchman notorious for his heist planning & prowess behind the wheel is in town to steal big & settle a score with Merli’s supervisor & childhood hero (who looks like Howard Vernon’s Italo-cousin). Will the tanned ramrod use his swagger to get that damn Frenchman? Will his supervisor ever respect his reckless decisions? Will those patched blue jeans create a strange front-bottom? Plenty of excellent vehicular mayhem opens & closes this poliziottesco romp, with an appropriate lull in the middle to tune up the finale. Stelvio plays it cool through most of this picture, but brews up an Iron Butterfly face-off jam for the big finish.

  22. The Fast and The Furious (HBOMAX)
    I started this for Cars day, but I finished it today, and it is a Cops story also.
    It was my first watch of any film in the franchise, and it was fine. The story is pretty standard, the acting is straight down the middle, but I enjoyed the real racing instead of CGI pretend stuff.
    As for the cops, Paul Walker may have been the prettiest actor ever, and he was suitably earnest. I also like the acting Karma of Ted Levine, that after playing Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs, he gets to spend much of the rest of his career playing very straight arrow cops.

  23. Car 54 Where Are You? (1994)

    I let my dad pick my movie tonight..... yeah. This was actually the second David Johansen movie I have watched this month. First being Scrooged. He was much more effective in the former. He's an actor that is best experienced in small roles. His voice.... it is so grating. I just can't. But John C. McGinley was in the cast, so it had that going for it. I could see some Dr. Cox mannerisms in his performance and that pleased me. But all and all, laughs were few and far between!

  24. Bad Boys for Life (2020) - 7/10 motorcycle sidecar pitbulls

  25. Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

    Jeremy Irons is great. It's hard to replace Alan Rickman as a villain, but he does a such a good job.

  26. Police Story (1985)

    Can never have too much Jackie Chan for Junesploitation.

  27. Cop (1988)
    Directed by James B. Harris
    Based on James Ellroy’s Blood On The Moon novel.

    James Woods (the anti-Tom Hanks) is a sleazy exploitation figure unto himself. He made this potty-mouthed pot-boiler at the height of Reagan/Bush America, a time of peak social and racial paranoia, and our love of cops who don’t follow the rules to protect us from the really bad guys. Which makes James Ellroy the perfect right-wing paranoiac writer for the basis of this material. The film is gritty, cynical stuff, and given Woods’ questionable media profile in the age of Trump, one can’t help but wonder if he identified a little too closely with his character. His cop doesn’t have time for feminists, mixed race murder victims, proper procedure, or to protect anyone’s feelings. There’s a 2 minute monologue at the beginning where his character talks about the need to crush people’s innocence in order to protect them from believing in illusions that lead them to having idealized male expectations, which of course when disappointed, lead them to prostitution, and being murder victims. The movie’s competently made, sort of sleazy about sex, but really sleazy in it’s treatment of women’s sensitivity or even believing they have the right to want men to care about how they feel. Does have some great lines though: “I deal qualudes, and fuck select older men who don’t want to get involved.” It’s a good ride, but James Woods was kind of gross then, and really gross now.

  28. Cotton Comes to Harlem (1970)

    Two no-nonsense cops, Coffin Ed and Gravedigger (they may break some heads, but never break no promises) investigate a snake oil salesman of a reverend who's scamming people out of their savings, while everyone in Harlem is looking for a mysterious bale of raw, uprocessed cotton which might be a bit more special than it seems ("It's a long time since I've seen cotton like that." "Digger, you ain't never seen no raw cotton before. You were born and raised right here in New York, just like me.")
    It's a consistently entertaining buddy cop movie, not exactly comedy but not heavy drama, either, that's more polished and professional looking than your average blaxploitation flick. It also serves as something of a love letter to Harlem as a self-contained community, portraying its streets, buildings and people with a lot of affection. Interesting sidenote (to me, at least): the music was written by Galt McDermot who just a few years prior co-authored the classic musical Hair, and you can totally hear the similarities the moment the opening theme song kicks in.

  29. The French Connection (1971) - I know I'm late to the party, but holy crap is this a great movie. I don't have anything to say that hasn't been said for decades, but brilliantly directed, Hackman is incredible, and some of the best action and suspense I've ever seen.

    1. It is amazing how much energy and tension are in the scenes of the police following characters around the city streets. The New York scenes are some of the best on-location shooting ever done in my opinion.

      I watched this and the sequel for sequel day. If you can get the greatness of the original film out of your head, the sequel can be a respectable 1970s cop film. Hackman got the chance to portray Popeye Doyle in an even stronger manner than in the original.

    2. I'll definitely check it out! And, yeah, the tailing scene with Hackman and Rey is fantastic.

  30. Police Academy (1984)
    Dir. Hugh Wilson

    Totally ridiculous, hasn't aged all that great but it still makes me laugh.

  31. The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994)

    I think I saw this in the theatres, and would have been the last time I saw it. It's probably the weakest of the trilogy, but still chock full of gags.

    1. It was one of my picks for Julie Strain Day !!! I kinda cheated, I admit. Her cameo must be 1 second-long. :)