Thursday, January 7, 2010

Film Review: THE ROOKIE (1990, Clint Eastwood)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 120 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Clint Eastwood, Charlie Sheen, Tom Skerritt, Lara Flynn Boyle, Raul Julia, Xander Berkeley (TERMINATOR 2, CANDYMAN), Sonia Braga (KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN). Written by Boaz Yakin (THE PUNISHER, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN 2) and Scott Spiegel (EVIL DEAD II, INTRUDER).
Tag-line: "Clint Eastwood is Sgt. Nick Pulovski, what you might call a seasoned cop. Charlie Sheen is Detective David Ackerman, what you'd definitely call... a rookie."
Best one-liner: "There's gotta be a hundred reasons why I don't blow you away. Right now I can't think of one."

There is a moment where this movie is going to win you over, and strangely enough, it doesn't even involve Clint Eastwood. It happens when Charlie Sheen, in a Scorsese-esque burst of violence, spurts booze from his lips through a lighter, igniting a surly, no-good bartender deserving of comeuppance. And at that point, you nod your head and acknowledge that you are indeed along for the ride. THE ROOKIE is basically DIRTY HARRY VI, and, really, by no means is that a bad thing. We've got a terrific supporting cast with the likes of Tom Skerritt, Raul Julia, Xander Berkeley, and Lara Flynn Boyle. We've got a script from the co-writer of EVIL DEAD II. All the cliches are covered, and the payoffs are well-executed by Eastwood's hand, literally.

"I'm the tooth fairy!"

The disdain factor is high:

Disdain for Charlie Sheen.

Disdain for rookies.

Disdain for Latina torturers...

... featuring the best liquid-regurgitation scene since THE GARBAGE PAIL KIDS.

And then there's even an ouroboros motif that almost makes the film come across as the upbeat version of TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. or VIOLENT COP. So if you're in the mood for a buddy cop film that treads the territory of "I'm gettin' too old for this shit" and the young hotshot up-and-comer facing against a foreigner with lots of henchmen, then THE ROOKIE might be just what the doctor ordered.

-Sean Gill

And this trailer- complete with salsa music and oddly abrupt editing- says it far better than I ever could:

1 comment:

J.D. said...

I think the key ingredient to enjoying this film is your tolerance for Charlie Sheen's shtick, which, outside of Oliver Stone's film, isn't very high for me. If memory serves, this was a paycheck film for Clint so that he could make BIRD (or was that why he did HEARTBREAK RIDGE? I forget) but it is a pretty bizarre buddy action film in some respects.