Hollywood Homicide

2003, Movie, PG-13, 111 mins

Review

HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE
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Mismatched detectives bicker, banter and almost incidentally solve a multiple murder in this fluffy byproduct of director Ron Shelton's pessimistic DARK BLUE (2003), concocted by Shelton and DARK BLUE's technical advisor, former LAPD detective Robert Souza. You shall know veteran detective Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) and his 24-year-old partner of four months, K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), by their diets and customized cell phone rings — it's burgers and "My Girl" for Gavilan, sprouts and "Funky Town" for Calden. Both do so much moonlighting — Gavilan as a real estate entrepreneur and Calden as a yoga instructor/aspiring actor — that they can barely squeeze in the occasional murder investigation. They catch the high-profile case of a promising rap group gunned down onstage in a crowded club owned by entrepreneur Julius Armas (Master P). The sole leads are an unidentified witness who's gone into hiding and the fact that the dead rappers were signed to hip-hop mogul Antoine Sartain's (Isaiah Washington) label. Charismatic ex-con Sartain (presumably modeled on Death Row Records founder Suge Knight), who's clearly hiding something, has suspiciously close ties to deeply dirty detective Leroy Wasley (Dwight Yoakam). Meanwhile, Gavilan is trying to broker the sale of old-time producer Jerry Duran's (Martin Landau) mansion to Armas, who's in the market for a classy crib, while Calden is preparing to play Stanley Kowalski in a one-night showcase he hopes will jumpstart his acting career. And as if there weren't already enough going on, Gaviland and Calden are under fire from Internal Affairs, mostly because Gavilan has bad personal history with hard-nosed Lt. Bennie Macko (Bruce Greenwood); Gavilan has inadvertently started dating Macko's ex (Lena Olin); and Calden just got a look at the secret file on the suspicious death of his father, also an L.A. cop, "in the line of duty." Ford and Hartnett have a lively rapport and their sniping isn't all about age, one of the script's rare deviations from the buddy cop manual, but Shelton and Souza have so many subplots in the air that the actual plot — the murder investigation — feels like an afterthought. This shaggy dog story about the intersection of celebrity worship and police work gets bogged down in a protracted climactic comic chase scene, but it's periodically enlivened by unlikely cameos, including Lou Diamond Phillips as an undercover cop posing as a transvestite hooker and Gladys Knight as a forgotten Motown singer. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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