Posted: 06/22/2003


Hollywood Homicide


by Chris Wood

Director Ron Shelton gives us an enjoyable action comedy that is less than expected, but more than it could have been, thanks to Ford and Hartnett.

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Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones) anxiously stands in front of a house in the Mt. Olympus housing complex in Hollywood, CA, with the trunk of his Cadillac partially opened. His cell phone rings, playing the opening to a Christmas song. After some fussing he hangs up and then gets another call. Gavilan answers and says that he’ll be there in ten minutes.

K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett, Pearl Harbor) is standing in a yoga pose looking out over a group of beautiful, young, tanned women in the same pose. They are focused and breathing together when Calden’s cell phone rings, which plays a catchy 80’s pop song. He excuses himself, answers the phone and says that he’ll be there in seven minutes.

In Hollywood, CA, having only one profession seems to be the minority as we meet Gavilan and Calden: partners of only four months, LA Detectives, a Real Estate Broker, and a Yoga Instructor. They show up at a nightclub where four murders just took place. Gavilan inspects the interior of the club and one of the dead bodies. Calden mimics his partner’s actions. Gavilan then has Calden take down some notes: Burger, tomato, no lettuce, no mayo, etc. (Harrison is very picky about his burgers). Following dinner orders, the two talk to the club owner (Master P, Gone In Sixty Seconds) and Gavilan, after hearing that the owner is in the market for a house, switches professions and puts on the real estate hat.

Hollywood Homicide is a one dimentional action-comedy that takes a humorous look at life as a cop in a ritzy and star-struck town. Ford and Hartnet are a good team and a good match. Old veteran cop and new young cop. As the commercials suggest, this is like a light-hearted Lethal Weapon. One cop is too old for this stuff and the other is mentally questionable, but likeable. The movie has a straight-up-the-middle plot where wrong happens, and good sets out to right the wrong. But these two cops have such bizarre side lives that it keeps things interesting, and certainly entertaining.

Calden, in addition to being a cop, and flexible, aspires to become an actor. He appears to be quite taken with the Tennessee Williams play, A Streetcar Named Desire, practicing the famous Brando, “Stella,” call after spending the evening with a blond beauty. It also becomes apparent why Calden became a cop. A picture of his deceased father, an LA cop killed in the line of duty, is on his nightstand and a question as to how and why he was killed has never left his mind (As I said, this is a straight-up-the-middle plot so you can be sure he will find out).

Gavilan has three ex-wives and a disposition that any rainy day would welcome. However, he is a resourceful detective and the duo is quickly nosing around Hollywood, picking up the scent. The four kids killed were an up-and-coming rap group owned by a man named Sartain (Isaiah Washington, Welcome to Collingwood). Gavlian and Calden visit his headquarters in town and clues start to come together.

What audiences will enjoy the most is the humor and somewhat exciting chases in the picture. Particularly, when Gavilan and Calden go looking for a witness to the murders named K-Ro (Kurupt, Half Past Dead). They track him to a suburban neighborhood that follows a shallow river consisting of H2O and duck droppings. Calden, on foot, chases K-Ro back and forth across the stream, as if they were playing tag, while Gavlian, the crafty veteran that he is, moves his car to a prime location where the chase will end up. Even more hilarious is the finial chase sequence where we see a different and certainly less respectful side of Ford. Stealing a little girl’s bike and yanking an old lady from a cab are just a couple of the things Gavilan does in order to keep hot on the trail of the bad guy.

Cop ethic decisions and a human choice are also made in this movie when Calden discovers his father’s killer and has to decide to what length and depth revenge will lead him. Overall, a good laugh and a couple good chase scenes are all this movie has to offer…but there’s nothing wrong with that!

Chris Wood is manufactured from stainless steel, water resistant, and makes a handy gift for any occasion.

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