Thursday, 1 October 2015

COP CAR - Review By Greg Klymkiw - Decent crime thriller with bunyip cop after little boys

Ain't nothing sexier than Kevin Bacon in a wife beater shirt

Cop Car (2015)
Dir. Jon Watts
Starring: Kevin Bacon, James Freedson-Jackson, Hayes Wellsford

Review By Greg Klymkiw

Boys will be boys. When two l'il whippersnappers, Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hayes Wellsford) decide to run away from home for a grand adventure, it mostly consists of wandering aimlessly across the flatlands of Colorado and attempting to outdo each other with swear words.

Like I said, boys will be boys.

The adventure really begins when they discover an abandoned cop car in the middle of nowhere. Much to their delight, and ours, the keys are in the ignition. What are two lads supposed to do? Well, the answer is simple. Though they can barely see above the dashboard, they start 'er up and take off for a joy ride.

There's a problem here, that they've not really considered. The belongs to Sherriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon) and when he discovers it's gone, he wants it back. He sure as hell doesn't want his colleagues to know that his vehicle has been stolen - especially not, as he discovers, by two little boys. This would be a tad embarrassing.

The other big problem?

Sheriff Kretzer has something stuffed in the trunk that should not be there.

Dream come true becomes Nightmare for two young fellas.

A fun cat and mouse game twixt the Sheriff and the boys ensues, but it's going to turn mighty dangerous and deadly. Our Colorado lawman is a seething killer and he'll stop at nothing to get his car back. Most of all, he hopes to Christ the boys don't discover the cargo in the trunk. If they do, he's going to have to kill them.

Director James Watt handles the proceedings with relentless proficiency and his screenplay is delightfully full of effective red herrings and unexpected twists andy turns which up the ante considerably. The performances all round are solid, but none more so than Kevin Bacon.

Adorned for much of the running time in a plaid and/or wife beater shirt, with a stylish flat-top cut and a magnificently groomed cop moustache, Bacon is malevolent, desperate and occasionally even likeable. He's a terrific anti-hero and we're rooting for him to tie up the loose ends and get his car back, though we're not too sure we really want him to blow the boys away. Even Kretzer has more than a few mixed emotions about this.

Kevin Bacon in plaid AND wife beater shirt with gun,
is pretty gol'durn sexy too, ain't he, ladies?

Cop Car is a solidly entertaining and well-crafted crime picture with more than a few dollops of black humour, dashes of creepiness, plenty of action and considerable suspense. Though its veneer has more than its fair share of 70s darkness and cynicism, it's lacking any genuine political or social subtext. Kevin Bacon's tour-de-force performance hints at deeper levels, but the script never really takes us there.

This places the picture in a pretty oddball tweener spot as what we really crave as the movie progresses is the kind of layering that makes movies like this far more engaging and memorable. We keep thinking the film is going to deliver the goods in this respect, but when it becomes apparent it won't, we're forced to just sit back and occasionally get taken out of the drama because one feels a certain emptiness during the proceedings.

Still, it's one heck of a decent ride directed with a good eye and an acute sense of geography during the chases and action. In these dark days of herky-jerky, this is nothing to be sneezed at.


Cop Car is available on gorgeous-looking Blu-Ray/DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada.

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