Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cop Out - **1/2

The first scene of Kevin Smith's Cop Out is fantastic. It's cliche, sure, but it's done so very well and involves a frantic Tracy Morgan yelling and screaming bits of dialogue from every shoot-em-up action movie of the last two or so decades, while a somber Bruce Willis looks on and notes the films these lines came from. There's even a somewhat "meta" moment when Morgan hollers a line from Willis' Die Hard, to which Willis claims he "hasn't seen that one". Like I said, it's nowhere near original, but it's cute and it works and really, how could it fail? You've got action star Willis, funnyman Morgan, and director Smith who is known as a pop culture junkie who often pays homage to these sorts of films in his own work.

How could it fail? Just see the rest of the movie. Oh, sure, it's funny, from time to time, but that isn't enough to support a whole movie. The plot is filled with the moments that made Lethal Weapon and Running Scared exciting and hilarious, while in this movie they just seem retread and tired. It doesn't help, either, that the score was done by Harold Faltermeyer, of Beverly Hills Cop fame, who does an excellent job in recreating that 1980's buddy cop sound in his themes, but to no avail in a film that is so glaringly from this century. I think that might be the film's biggest flaw - that it suffers from a strange identity crisis in wanting to be something fun and a bit retro for a target audience who just doesn't want to see this type of movie and is thus seen by young people who probably don't get (or care about) most of the references being made, and so it's stars and soundtrack just make it feel "old".

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