Critics Consensus: Your Badge and Gun, Cop Out
Plus, The Crazies is a rarity: an outstanding horror remake.
The 1980s cop-buddy action/comedy is a subgenre that continues to delight movie buffs. Unfortunately, the critics say a strong cast and director Kevin Smith's obvious affection for the likes of 48 Hrs. and Beverly Hills Cop can't elevate Cop Out above blandness. Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan star as a pair of down-on-their-luck, wisecracking cops who don't play by the rules and have family troubles. Can they crack the big case? Will hilarity ensue? The answer to the second question is no, say the scribes, who grumble that Cop Out is too thinly plotted and too slackly paced to make much of some familiar elements.
Like an unassisted triple play or a giant squid sighting, a critically acclaimed horror remake is exceedingly rare. However, such is the case with The Crazies, a revamp of George Romero's 1973 chiller that's tense, nicely shot, and uncommonly intelligent. Timothy Olyphant stars as the sheriff of a small town with a contaminated water supply that's turning its citizens into murderous, 28 Days Later-style barbarians. Soon the government has quarantined the community in an attempt to control the situation, but not before a dark secret is revealed. The pundits say The Crazies benefits greatly from its assured craftsmanship, and the result is a smart, politically-charged film with oodles of scares and gore. (Check out Olyphant's Five Favorite Films here.)
Also opening this week in limited release:
- The French prison drama A Prophet, about a young Muslim who becomes a hardened crime boss behind bars, is at 94 percent.
- Easier With Practice, about a writer who develops a strange relationship with a female caller, is at 88 percent.
- The Art of the Steal, a documentary about the controversy over ownership of a prized art collection, is at 85 percent.
- The Yellow Handkerchief, starring William Hurt and Kristen Stewart in a thriller about an author who discovers his subject may have engaged in some ominous deeds, is at 71 percent.
- Defendor, starring Woody Harrelson as an eccentric, oft-arrested superhero, is at 70 percent.
- Prodigal Sons, a doc about a year in the life of a dysfunctional Montana family, is at 67 percent.
- Toe to Toe, a drama about the love/hate relationship between two lacrosse players at an elite private school, is at 63 percent.
- Formosa Betrayed, starring James Van Der Beek in a thriller about a politically-motivated murder, is at 43 percent.