Cop Land - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Cop Land Reviews

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November 29, 2016
In the town of Garrison, New Jersey, located across the Hudson River from New York City, a number of residents are NYPD officers. Local Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) is secretly in love with Liz Randone (Annabella Sciorra), whose life he once saved after a car accident. Her rescue cost him the hearing in one ear which made him ineligible to become a New York City cop, as so many of his peers did, including Liz's abusive and unfaithful husband Joey Randone (Peter Berg). One night, Murray "Superboy" Babitch (Michael Rapaport), nephew of Lt. Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), is driving across the George Washington Bridge when his car is side-swiped by a couple of African-American teens. Babitch attempts to force them to pull over. The passenger points what Babitch thinks is a weapon just before (Babitch's) front tire "blows out". Believing they have fired at him, Babitch shoots back. In an ensuing accident, the teens are killed. Jack Rucker (Robert Patrick) removes the steering-wheel lock that Babitch mistook for a weapon from the hands of one of the dead teens and is caught trying to plant a sub-machine-gun in their vehicle to justify the shooting. Worried about the repercussions to his career, Babitch is persuaded by Donlan to fake his own suicide; with help from several other cops, Donlan pretends that Babitch has jumped off the bridge. Other corrupt police officers, including Detective Leo Crasky (John Spencer) and Frank Lagonda (Arthur Nascarella), fear that Babitch will resurface and testify about their corruption to Internal Affairs. Internal Affairs investigator Lt. Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) asks if Heflin will provide information on the corrupt cops who live in Garrison. Heflin is intimidated by the New York City cops and is reluctant to betray them, derailing Tilden's investigation. Superiors in the department, related to the corrupt cops, order Tilden to shut down the investigation. Although the Babitch cover-up appears to be initially successful, Donlan is told by Patrolmen's Defense Association President Vincent Lassaro (Frank Vincent) that without a body, the case will not stay cold. Donlan reluctantly decides that his nephew must be killed. Babitch is tipped off by his aunt Rose (Cathy Moriarty) and escapes. He goes to Heflin's house looking for help, but when he sees Heflin's friend (and fellow NYPD cop) Gary "Figgsy" Figgis (Ray Liotta), he flees. Freddy must find a "Superboy" and protect him before Donlan finds him...

Stallone's understated performance was praised by critics and he received the Best Actor award at the Stockholm International Film Festival. "Cop Land" was also screened at the 54th Venice Film Festival in the Midnight line-up. Earlier in May 1997, the film was accepted into the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival, but Miramax declined the invitation due to re-shoots that were needed for the film, including footage of Stallone 40 pounds heavier. Roger Ebert gave the film two out of four stars and wrote, "There is a rough balance between how long a movie is, how deep it goes and how much it can achieve. That balance is not found in Cop Land and the result is too much movie for the running time". On the other hand, Gene Siskel praised the movie, especially the screenplay, "One to be savored." In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin felt that, "the strength of Cop Land is in its hard-edged, novelistic portraits, which pile up furiously during the film's dynamic opening scenes... Yet if the price of Mangold's casting ambitions is a story that can't, finally, match its marquee value, that value is still inordinately strong. Everywhere the camera turns in this tense and volatile drama, it finds enough interest for a truckload of conventional Hollywood fare. Whatever its limitations, Cop Land has talent to burn". Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B-" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Stallone does a solid, occasionally winning job of going through the motions of shedding his stardom, but the wattage of his personality is turned way down-at times, it's turned down to neutral. And that pretty much describes Cop Land, too. Dense, meandering, ambitious yet jarringly pulpy, this tale of big-city corruption in small-town America has competence without mood or power-a design but not a vision". In her review for the Washington Post, Rita Kempley wrote, "With its redundancy of supporting characters, snarled subplots and poky pace, Cop Land really might have been better off trading the director for a traffic cop". Rolling Stone magazine's Peter Travers praised Stallone's performance: "His performance builds slowly but achieves a stunning payoff when Freddy decides to clean up his town ... Freddy awakes to his own potential, and it's exhilarating to watch the character and the actor revive in unison. Nearly down for the count in the movie ring, Stallone isn't just back in the fight. He's a winner". In his review for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle also liked Stallone's work: "His transformation is more than a matter of weight. He looks spiritually beaten and terribly sad. He looks like a real person, not a cult-of-the-body film star, and he uses the opportunity to deliver his best performance in years".

"Copland" is one of Sylvester Stalloneīs finest moments as he get to truly show his acting abilities in a role we normally donīt see him in. Heīs overweight, bleak, sad, lonely and in secret longing for the woman he canīt get. The cast, story, location and direction from James Mangold creates an intense and engaging film with a touch of an independent movie. The message to garner the courage to do what is right despite the risks involved and what you might sacrifice is not unique, but yet interesting and believable. The portrayal of corruption and dark sides of the police department is an important question to be asked as this is of course a threat to our society. If you canīt trust the police who can you trust? The film has so many solid actors in the leads such as Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Robert Patrick, Ray Liotta, Annabella Sciorra etc which bring the film to great heights as everybody has brought their A-Game. "Copland" is a great crime drama in my eyes. And I love the ending.
jamrcla
Super Reviewer
½ July 30, 2016
Stallone changes the pace from his all out action films and tries something different, The plot is nothing new with crooked cops killing each other off but has a few twists, Stallone puts in his best acting performance of the 90's And gained allot of weight to play this role, His performance in this film isn't recognised enough, Don't watch if you're expecting an action packed film, It has a great story and some good acting and was very gripping.
July 6, 2016
Amazing how Sylvester Stallone manages to be the one to standout in a film that also has Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta.
Very good crime drama with some great performances, especially worth watching for Stallone as proof that he can act.
½ June 3, 2016
See Sylvester Stallone as you've never seen him, an out-of-shape sheriff of a fictional town in New Jersey where dirty NYC cops go to live. A series of events leads Stallone's character to question his role as an enabler and force him to action. An Internal Affairs detective played by Robert Deniro, who is out to bring down the ring of dirty cops led by Harvey Keitel, provides a conscience for Stallone's character. Great cast includes the likes of Ray Liota, John Patrick, John Spencer, Peter Berg, Cathy Moriarity, and Michael Rappaport to name a few.
May 11, 2016
Has quietly snuck its way onto my favourite movie list over the last few years.
Stallone once again delivers a great performance backed up by top support from DeNiro and Keitel. Possibly the best gangster film that's not about gangsters.
Always worth staying up late to watch on Channel 4.
May 6, 2016
Redemption for Sly, and another notch in the impressive resume for the supporting cast. Cop Land is a dark, gritty look and an underrated classic by James Mangold.
April 5, 2016
so entertaining - must watch!
February 19, 2016
Would of been better with more action scenes
February 13, 2016
A really solid drama with a strong ensemble led by a really great Stallone. Seeing the love for him for Creed this year really makes you say that Stallone did have some good projects but it's just the bad ones that have overshadowed his career. Keitel, DeNiro, and Edie Falco are all great in supporting roles and it has a solid screenplay. Definitely check this one out for Stallone's performance
January 3, 2016
What attracted me to this movie was the cast and the story line but i think there could have been more action, due to the fact that it's the cops that are running the city rather than the Sheriff
½ December 11, 2015
There's an obvious aura at the beginning and the unfolding towards the outcome turns intriguing even though the tonal shifts are sort of disruptive to the process. But what drives the film is the excellent performances from Stallone, De Niro and Liotta, and some dynamics they each bring out. (B)

(Full review coming soon)
December 11, 2015
Take my shield away from me.

A New Jersey community is filled with New York City police officers that have formed their own law and way of life in this small town. The sheriff was handpicked and turns a blind eye to the NYPD until one of the police officer's lives is at risk. When the internal affairs department turns their back on him, the sheriff will have to take matters into his own hands.

"In for a penny in for a pound."

James Mangold, director of Walk the Line; Identity; Girl, Interrupter; 3:10 to Yuma; The Wolverine; Kate and Leopold; Heavy; and the upcoming Seducing Ingrid Bergman, delivers Cop Land. The storyline for this picture has some real interesting subplots mixed into the primary storyline and reminded me of a poor man's Heat. The cast delivers very solid performances and includes Sylvestor Stallone, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Michael Rapaport, Harvey Keitel, Robert Patrick, Janeane Garofalo, and Peter Berg.

"I can't hear you."

I always really liked this movie and thought it was a bit underrated. I recently came across this on Netflix and decided to watch it again for the first time in a long time...I still thoroughly enjoyed this. This may be a hair step down from Heat, but just a hair (both are not as good as the Town). Nevertheless, I strongly recommend seeing this once.

"If he doesn't like my garbage then he should stop soiling my sheets."

Grade: B
December 10, 2015
This movie has all the ingredients to make something incredible. With so many cop movies since the beginning of cinema Cop Land actually comes to the table with a fresh and unique concept. A town that's only inhabitants...are cops. They take care of themselves, handle the law in their own way and don't take kind to outside visitors. There are some big name actors we have here as well. But after watching Cop Land you will be completely underwhelmed and almost saddened that such a good concept for a movie falls completely flat and ends up being almost silly. The best part about this movie astonishingly enough is Sylvester Stallones performance as the small town sheriff. You have never seen Stallone like this before. He is out of shape, older looking and it is a very understated performance. This time Stallone is the guy who is getting picked on, almost as the town nerd for lack of a better term. He gives a great acting performance in this movie and surrounded by this cast this movie should have been nothing short of excellent. But instead they decide to center the story around a silly incident that happens early in the movie that makes absolutely zero sense and I don't even want to go on about the plot. Just know that if you are going to watch this thinking that it will be good because of the big names, don't be fooled. But do yourself a favor and watch it anyway for Stallones performance, that alone was worth price of admission for me.
December 8, 2015
this movie's greatest sin is being so far ahead of its time. Were this released in the culture of 2007 rather than the days of 1997 when it was, it would be considered a cutting edge, innovative film in the vein of Crash (of which this film, to me, far outshines by comparison). A sneaky good film that's a great watch and certainly makes you think in light of current day events. watch it.
½ November 30, 2015
Would have enjoyed more if they didn't make Stallone the equivalent of Dewey from Scary Movie, most of the film.
½ November 27, 2015
One of the most criminally underrated movies of all time. Sly gives probably his performance next to the new rocky performance and is really subdued. Everyone else including the great de Niro is on their A game. Mangold directs a perfect looking but slightly overlong crime drama with gripping tension.
November 21, 2015
I like this film a lot and I've seen it many times. At least five times. This movie grows on you. You have to be patient because it builds slowly. Stallone proves he can act -- he definitely proves it here. An exceptional cast all around. I'm surprised that more people don't appreciate this movie.
November 3, 2015
It Was A Reasonable a Good Crime Flick.
Super Reviewer
½ September 29, 2015
"Being right is not a bullet proof vest, Freddy"

The problem with Cop Land, is that it's full of cops. Well there is that, but in all seriousness, for any fan of the crime genre they will find there are two things that are unavoidable when looking over the cast of the film. One, is legendary director Martin Scorsese and the regulars that feature in his work: There is, of course, DeNiro and Keitel (who need no introduction) but there's also Liotta (Goodfellas), Cathy Moriarty (Raging Bull) and Frank Vincent who appears in both the latter two (as well as Casino). Vincent also brings me to the other unavoidable thing... the finest television series on the subject; The Sopranos. By my count, there's no less than ten cast members that are recognisable throughout six seasons and those well versed will notice; Carmela, Paulie, Arty Buco and Vincent's Phil Leotardo, among others.

The New Jersey town of Garrison is populated by cops from the NYPD who have set up their own community to live in peace. As intended, it's a community that doesn't need policing but still employs local Sheriff, Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone) to oversee things. Freddy always wanted to join the police force but was prevented from doing so because of a childhood accident that left him partially deaf. However, when Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel) and his corrupt activities begin to surface it brings it to the attention of Internal Affairs Agent Moe Tilden (Robert DeNiro) who may just have the policeman's job opportunity that Freddy has coveted.

Narratively, the film starts very strongly and draws you into the murky depths of police corruption and cops ruling cops. Director James Mangold also seems to know what he's doing; he builds the tension slowly and assuredly and introduces his characters at precise moments. It's not long before we realise Keitel is one of the shady one's and firmly in control of his environment. Stallone also happens to establish himself quickly by playing firmly against type. The whole premise of the film is built around Sly and the, seeming inability, to do the job he's been denominated for. It's quite a distance from most of his action-hero work but it's the supporting roles of a strung out Liotta and doggedly determined DeNiro that really bring shape to the whole corrupt debacle.

All of the supporting players are brilliantly placed but it's, unsurprisingly, the aforementioned four actors that drive the film. Liotta, Keitel and DeNiro deliver the high calibre expected from them but the biggest surprise is Stallone. He's wise enough to sit back and let the heavyweights chew the scenery while he subtly underplays it and brings a touching vulnerability to his afflicted Sheriff.

With an abundance of talent on display you might ask why Cop Land doesn't entirely work? Quite simply, it's a generic and formulaic story. The leads do what they can - and they all get their moment to shine - but the lack of three dimensional characterisation and some redundant plot strands only allow them to go so far. However, despite Mangold's inability to come up with a solid script, his handling of events and a who's-who cast are very diligently attuned. It's also worth noting that the denouement is impressively intense in a High-Noon homage with Mangold, very skilfully, utilising Freddie's hearing impairment to the utmost effect and manages to turn, what would normally be considered a Hollywood hokum get-out, into a refreshing and satisfying showdown.

Alas, Cop Land is not the sum of it's parts. It had the potential to be a classic but ends up just another attempt at a genre that so many have covered to better results. That said, it's hard to argue with the cast and the solid performances but because it's easy to see the potential this film had, it makes it all the more frustrating that it doesn't quite achieve it. It's good, but it could've been great. As it goes, the problem with Cop Land is that it's not full of cops, the problem with Cop Land is that's it's full of quality actors working under restrained and clichÃĐd material.

Mark Walker
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