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Cop Land (1997)
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Violence, Strong language and brief nudity
Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Janeane Garofalo, Annabella Sciorra, Harvey Keitel, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Noah Emmerich, Cathy Moriarty
A small-town sheriff has long idolized the big-city cops who live in his peaceful neighborhood until he uncovers a potentially explosive conspiracy among them.
Cop Land (1997) | Review
First Blood, Cop Land, Lock Up
First, Rambo: First Blood (1982) returns to Blu-ray. You might've already bought the Rambo Collector's Editionthat we covered here a little over a year ago. It's more than an action film; it's an education about the way that society receives its own after they've left and come back. Vietnam veteran John Rambo (Stallone) finds himself dealing with a level of sadism that he didn't see before, the kind which marks his life as worthless even after his service to the country. While lots of other movies have spoofed Rambo, what one sees looking back is something akin to a story full of love for Vietnam vets, and a reflection on what bullying looks like in America among adults.
Cop Land (1997) came highly recommended by our own Ed Travis. His review of the Director's Cut was enough to make me want to check this one out. Starring Stallone as a deaf sheriff dealing with a town full of crooked cops, the movie has its own commentary to make on law, justice, and criminal behavior, but it's an entertaining little thriller, too. When you have Robert De Niro playing Internal Affairs, and a host of crooked cops played by the likes of Harry Keitel, Michael Rapaport, and Robert Patrick thrown into the mix, you're dealing with a pot full of tasty ingredients with a powder keg at the bottom.There are elements of a love story here, but the examination of the power structure in a small town is pretty hardy in the script and direction by James Mangold (Walk the Line.)
The final selection, Lock Up (1989), which I reviewed two years ago when it was released onBlu-ray, is my least favorite of the three. Sure, the inmate Stallone is up against the evil warden played by Donald Sutherland, but it's too straightforward and not spicy enough to really merit a second viewing. I've been pretty complimentary of First Blood and now Cop Land, but this one sort of drags down the collection that would've been a lot sweeter with Rocky, Victory, or even The Expendables.
Watching these movies, I'm convinced that there's more to Stallone then we often give him credit for. He's become something of a joke (while I'm entertained by his motley Expendables crew, I don't know that it helps him maintain a serious profile) and we fail to see that many of his stories are true to the examination of our human decision-making experience. How do we define ourselves? What do we deem to be important? When does love or purpose override our sense of expectations, law, or duty? How do we know what is ultimately worthwhile? Stallone appreciates the exploration of these questions, and he goes after them with extreme gusto.
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