Saturday, February 12, 2011

Deadly Farce: HOLLYWOOD COP (1987)

As someone who has worked in the video retail business for some years there are certain questions that pop up from time to time that are really freakin' annoying. My favorite is probably "is this movie any good?". Seriously, how am I supposed to answer that? Could you ask something a little more subjective? Unless it's a repeat offender (meaning they have been a customer many times before), there's no way for me to answer that question. Some folks think Jennifer Ansiton makes "good" movies. If this is the case, as The Duke once said, "I can do nothin' for you, son." So, is HOLLYWOOD COP good? Hell man, I don't know if it's "good", but I can tell you, this movie is freakin' great!

I'm a sucker for bad movies with bad actors portraying bad people. I've seen a lot of 'em and have some cherished favorites, but nobody really captures the essence of what bad movies are all about like writer-producer-director Amir Shervan. I haven't been able to track down much info on Shervan, but it appears that he is prolific in Iranian cinema and as far as I know has only made three English language films, HOLLYWOOD COP being the first, SAMURAI COP (1989) being the second and the tantalizingly titled KILLING AMERICAN STYLE (1990) being the last. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem as if KILLING, which stars Jim Brown and Robert Z'Dar, was ever released on video.

In an ode to truth in advertising the box copy does not lie. "Raping, robbing, kidnapping, killing... the action never stops!" the box screams. Damned if it ain't the truth! HOLLYWOOD COP starts out with a massacre on a farm in which a group of balaclava-clad mobsters kill everyone except blond mom Rebecca (Julie Schoenhofer) and her equally blond kid. After snatching the kid, they are thoughtful enough to leave a note explaining that they want their $6 million that the kids' father stole  from them and promptly skipped town with. The LAPD detectives are seemingly baffled by a case with more clues than complications so our blond mom decides to seek help from renegade cop John Turquoise (David Goss) who is recommended to her via a street vendor.

Turquoise, or as everyone calls him "Turkie," is such a loose cannon that he is causing his chief (a scene stealing Cameron Mitchell) heartburn and err... incontinence (dude, TMI, man, TMI!). After instigating a bloodbath during a brutal rape and robbery in which he kills all of the suspects, Mitchell, looking as if he is about to have a stroke, strips him of his badge. In spite of this, the local hotdog vendor with her heightened perception of human nature recommends him to our distraught mom in this profound exchange:

Rebecca: "Who is he?"
Hotdog Vendor: "He's Turk!"
Rebecca: "Who's that?"
Hotdog Vendor: "He's a cop!"
Rebecca: "He is?"
Hotdog Vendor: "He's a good cop!"
Rebecca: "Really?"
Hotdog Vendor: "Yeah!"

Good enough! That's all Rebecca needs to hear to take off with Turk to find the dead-beat dad, the $6 million and the precocious kid... with token black partner named Jaguar (Lincoln Kilpatrick, who clearly knows he is slumming) in tow.

In a scene of keen insight, we are given Shervan's idea of what a typical American schmuck would do with $6 million in stolen mob cash. When the dad is found he is sitting in a small suburban back-yard, dressed for a tennis match and sipping cheap liquor while a bunch of not-very attractive women dance about in bikinis to bad '80s dance tunes. Damn, if that's Shervan's dream come true, life must be real fucking tough in Iran!

Why Kilpatrick signed on to the production
Shervan packs this 101 minute epic with all manner of exploitation value including rape, decapitation, bloody shootings, nudity, boat chases, car chases, more shootings, more nudity, Pepsi product placement and lots of hilarious dialogue from some choice Z-grade actors including VJ fave Jim Mitchum and Aldo Ray. As if that weren't enough there is numerous attempts at martial arts fights in which Turkie and Jaguar lay out badass asian dudes bustin' out some mean kata with good ol' American haymakers and bent-leg kicks. Shervan understands that no proper American action film is complete without stunt work. There is one seriously painful stunt, which probably sounded easy on paper, in which some poor slob is supposed to get shot and fall out of a car window. After being "shot", he throws himself out of the car, but does so as the car is turning and doesn't get enough clearance resulting in a really painful looking fall that is exacerbated by the car's tire catching him in the back. Ouch!

Is this a "good" movie? Come on now, any movie in which the lead shows his bedside manner when the rape victim's husband is holding a machete to the rapists throat by saying: "Look mister I know this guy just fucked your wife, but he's our prisoner now, so how about backing off, ok?" has got to be called "good"!  HOLLYWOOD COP may not reach the dizzying heights of unintentional hilarity that Shervan reached with his follow-up SAMURAI COP. But it's close.

2 Reactions:

  1. Samurai Cop + exploitation sleaze + Cameron Mitchell? This can't miss! I find it alternately sad and awesome that the DVD is going for a single penny on Amazon (brand new, at that.)

  2. Killing American Style has surfaced!


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