Directed By: Charles Winkler
Starring: Val Kilmer, Sharon Stone, Curtis Jackson
A tale of police corruption set in post Katrina New Orleans, starring Val Kilmer, Sharon Stone and Curtis Jackson. This sounds like it could be interesting.
The movie opens just after the worst of the flooding is over. Bodies are floating and looters are looting. What cops that are still around are just barely able to keep a lid on things and protect their own. Enter Andy, played by a chubby Val Kilmer, he and his partner were separated during the worst of the flooding and Andy has just now found him in a place he shouldn’t be with a bullet in his head floating face down in three foot of water in a warehouse. They don’t call it the Big Easy for nothing. It’s just not Andy’s day because as he exits the building he steps into a tense situation between Stan, Curtis Jackson, a beat cop who had just transferred in from Chicago and a store security guard who has just shot a looter. Stan is trying to get the security guard to lower his rifle but he will not comply. Andy covers his fellow officer and talong with Stan tries to get the guard to lower his rifle. The security guard who evidently doesn’t understand basic arithmetic gets flustered and takes a shot at Andy. Of course Andy and Stan return fire and drop the security guard.
Fade to the department Psychologist Nina’s, played by Sharon Stone, office six months later. She is interviewing Stan and he is explaining how Andy got him pulled up from patrol and transferred to vice so they can be partners. I guess shoot outs have a way of bring those involved together, at least the ones who live. By now the dust has settled enough that there is time for interviews with the department Psychologist and Nina is trying to determine if the stress is getting to the officers. At this point I’ve got to step outside of the plot synopsis and mention something that took me totally out of the movie for a few minutes. The accents are heavy, Val’s is strong, but Sharon’s is like a ball and chain. It’s been many years since I was in New Orleans and maybe I just missed it but I don’t remember hearing anyone talk like this. It’s almost as if they are trying to mock somebody. Even if the accents are legit they still take you out of the movie. Now back to the plot synopsis, after satisfying Nina that they aren’t about to crack up Andy and Stan head out to do some police work.
While patrolling a park that Andy takes a personal interest in keeping clean they roust a local drug dealer. The dealer breaks away from them and makes a run for it only to be cut down by a passing SUV with automatic weapons sticking out of every window. With his dying breath the dealer gives Andy and Stan the name of a DEA agent that’s gone native, but before they can find and interview the rouge DEA agent he gets killed by another pair of New Orleans cops. From this dangling thread Andy and Stan begin to unravel a sordid tale of crooked cops, bent federal agents, sleazy informants, and invading gangs, a regular panoply of street vermin to be cleansed from the streets of the Big Easy.
The story’s not bad; it’s just a bit inconsistent. It’s as if the screenwriter couldn’t figure out if he was writing a buddy cop movie, a cop thriller, or a straight drama so he just took elements from all three and sprinkled them around. That can work but it doesn’t work here. It’s not really difficult to figure out what’s going on, but I was never really sure what the story is about. The acting is generally good. It’s not the best stuff Val and Sharon have done but it’s solid. Curtis carries his weight and isn’t overshadowed by either Val or Sharon in the scenes they share. The direction is not very good. Several scenes reminded me of the annoying anti-piracy PSAs at the beginning of many DVDs, the first time I noticed it was odd, the third time it was just old.
The film is presented in widescreen format. The video is clean and crisp with very little grain except for in the darkest scenes. There is just a little bit of aliasing but you won’t notice it unless you’re looking for it. I never noticed any blooming or moiré or any other artifacts or defects that would get in the way of enjoying the movie.
The audio is presented in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound with English subtitles. The sound is generally good with the dialog always clear and understandable. I some scenes though the foley and background noise seem unusually loud. The score is a little on the bombastic side but the musical selections all fit the emotions of the various scenes very well.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The DVD comes in the standard plastic Amaray case with a cardboard slip cover. The artwork features the three stars. It’s visually appealing and matches the vibe of the movie. The copy is honest. When you pick up this DVD you know exactly what kind of movie is. The motifs and color schemes from the case are carried through to the DVD menus which are straightforward and uncomplicated. The only extra or bonus material on the DVD is a trailer. No commentaries, no making of featurettes, nothing.
What we have is another B level cop movie. There is nothing really to recommend it other than the stars, however if you see it cheap enough in the bargain bin it’s a pleasant enough way to kill a couple of hours a hour and a half if you don’t have anything else to do.
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10
The Movie 6/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 6/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 3/10
Overall (Not an Average) 5/10