The Rookie Reviews
Even Clint himself looks bored with this one. You can usually count on his hilariously grumpy quips and chemistry with his co-star, but all of that is in short supply here. In fact, there's such little character development and plot set-up that it feels like you walked in on the movie at the half hour mark.
Even the action, which is sometimes the only reason to see an Eastwood film from this era in his career, is lacking here. You get the standard shoot-outs and car chases, but for a movie dealing with grand theft auto, those are disappointing too. That speaks more to Eastwood as the director, and he doesn't appear to be too involved in this at that capacity either.
It's said he only agreed to make this so that Warner Brothers would let him make "White Hunter, Black Heart." It indeed feels like a throwaway project, but we should still should be allowed to expect more from the star. The villains here, played by Sonia Braga and Raul Julia, are quite unimpressive as well. There are a few laughs and a couple of mildly interesting action sequences in "The Rookie," but this will never be confused for one of Eastwood's better films. It feels more like an afterthought for the people involved.
"The Rookie" was a standard cop buddy action film when it came out, but back then a new Clint Eastwood movie was the "shit" and I reckon I thought it was pretty ok. When re-seeing it 24 years later that is not really the case. It´s such a formula A cop movie and Eastwood is almost on parody mode and Sheen looks lost and high. The person who came up with the bright idea of making Sonia Braga´s and Raul Julia´s characters germans when they both are/were from Puerto Rico makes no sense at all. And besides that they are hardly that convincing as bad guys. The movie was controversial for its depiction of a provocative woman-on-man rape sequence with it garnering much publicity and to be honest why oh why was that in the film? Clint Eastwood actually agreed to do this movie in exchange for the Warner Brothers studio letting him make his personal film project, "White Hunter Black Heart" (1990). And in a way that shines through in Eastwood´s performance. Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun Times wrote back then "The Rookie is jammed with material and the budget was obviously large, but somehow not much pays off. It's all there on the screen, but lifeless." So true. It´s all on autopilot. My treat was to see my Twin Peaks crush Lara Flynn Boyle in a supporting role. That´s pretty much it.
Just before 'Unforgiven' re-established the great star's legacy, he was peddling sub-Dirty Harry daftness like this 1990 effort.
It's on this list for a variety of dubious set-pieces. Sheenie's insufferable bar-room brawl antics and the chalk and cheese duo flying out of an exploding building in a black Mercedes add to the general silliness, but the biscuit is well and truly taken in a preposterous scene where Clint, captured by the baddies, is 'raped' by Brazilian henchwoman Sonia Braga.
The story is plausible in some places and too dumb in others, but the stunts carry it. Its basically a coming-of-age tale and a standard crime-doesn't-pay tale mostly memorable for the action. The whole "you were never there for me dad" guilt trip over the dead brother subplot was not necessary, but I bought it. I recommend it for Eastwood fans or strictly as an escapst action flick.
Lastly, notice Roberta Vasquez at the end as Sheen's new partner. She's a former LAPD officer and Playboy Playmate.