U.S. Release Date:
June 13, 2003
Distributor: Sony (Revolution)
Producer: Joe Roth (Executive)
Composer: Alex Wurman
Cast: Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Bruce Greenwood, Keith David, Anthony Mackie
Running Time: 1 hour and 51 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (violence, sexual situations and language)
The end of Ron Shelton's haphazard Hollywood Homicide should include this dedication "In Memory of Harrison Ford's Career 1977-2003" because the final nail has been driven into the coffin of one of movie history's most stalwart performers. It isn't that Hollywood Homicide doesn't try or that it doesn't have inspired moments, it just doesn't seem to know what it wants to be.
Shelton, who serves as both director and co-writer, starts out with a promising enough premise with Ford and partner Josh Hartnett investigating the gangland-style slaying of an up and coming rap group. The mismatched pair is typical of the cop buddy movie genre. Ford is a gruff old cop, set in his ways. Hartnett is the wide-eyed rookie, more interested in scoring the girl of the moment than in his career. Shelton adds a twist though. These are L.A. cops and they have a second set of careers that get in the way of police work. Ford's Galivan is a real estate broker on the side. Harnett's K.D. is a yoga instructor cum actor. It's a funny twist and all too true. Anyone who lives in L.A. probably knows one of these dual career cops, who range from lawyers to actors to basketball stars.
It's in the execution that the movie just falls to pieces. What should have been a nice satire on the whole L.A. scene with these cops taking us on a tour of its almost surreal landscape, turns into a mess with the incomprehensible rap-murder storyline bogging down the works. And just when the movie couldn't get filled up with any more plot points, the partners become the target of an internal affairs investigation, which leads to perhaps the worst interrogation scene in the history of cinema.
Hollywood Homicide just mutates into a pale imitation of Lethal Weapon with an over the top police chase—even by L.A. standards—and a level of violence that is just plain cartoonish.
There are bright spots. Lena Olin playing a radio psychic and Ford's girlfriend is terrific, though horribly under used. As Shelton has shown before in such movies as Bull Durham and Tin Cup, "older" women (read: those over 35) are sexy, and are an untapped resource in Hollywood. Ford's efforts to sell real estate are funny, and even Hartnett's attempts at becoming an actor are at least not annoying.
Unfortunately, Ford looks as if he's literally phoning his performance in, and Hartnett isn't clean cut enough to be an L.A. cop. The rest of the cast, including Lolita Davidovich (looking beautiful albeit completely ill used) and Martin Landau, are left to playing their parts in broad strokes that make each line delivery sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Particularly disappointing is how poorly the environs of L.A. are used in the story. Like last month's The Italian Job, the shopping center at Hollywood and Highland and the subway system figure prominently in the climax, but far less memorably. For a movie that's about "Hollywood" this had little, if anything to do with it.
The only reason to see Hollywood Homicide is to pay one's last respects to Harrison Ford's brilliant career. May it rest in peace. Hopefully, the next Indiana Jones can resurrect it.
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