Thursday, April 14, 2011

Canon Movie Review: Hollywood Homicide

Today's review is about a 2002 film that did not do so well at the box office, losing over 40 million dollars, Hollywood Homicide. Directed by Ron Shelton, Hollywood Homicide stars Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Master P, Lena Olin, Martin Landau, Dwight Yoakam, Isaiah Washington, and Robert Wagner as himself. In this movie, an up-and-coming rap group is brutally murdered after a performance, and it's up to a pair of detectives, Joe Gavilan (Ford) and K.C. Calden (Hartnett), to solve the case. The duo try to solve this case while juggling their other professions, as Gavilin is a real-estate agent, while Calden is an aspiring actor who also runs a yoga studio in his spare time. As they get deeper and deeper into the case, the duo find it harder and harder to manage both the case and their other projects. Presumably, hyjinx ensue. A few notes about this movie, and I'll try to avoid SPOILERS as much as possible, but I'm sure some will slip in there.

- As Joe Gavilan, Ford does a decent job, though I got the feeling that he was basically playing himself for two hours. As for the character itself, while at first the idea of a detective being more concerned with his next real-estate deal was somewhat humorous, the constant co-mingling between Gavilan's cop life and real-estate career gets tiresome, especially during the extra long chase scene at the end of the movie. To me, I didn't think Gavilan was a particularly likable character, as he came across as more of a desperate shyster trying to hustle an extra buck or two than a heroic figure. Even when you found out that Internal Affairs officer Macko (Bruce Greenwood) was hell-bent on bringing Gavilan down, part of me felt that Gavilan probably deserved it.

- Opposite of Ford is Josh Hartnett's portrayal of detective K.C. Calden. While Hartnett wasn't neccesarily bad in this movie, he didn't bring anything extra to the table, and frankly, I felt that any number of young actors could have played the same role as well, if not better, than Hartnett did in this film. Of course, the script doesn't do Hartnett any favors, as Calden is basically a young cop who gets a lot of tail and, like everyone in Hollywood, wants to be an actor. Well, of course he does. Calden also doesn't seem to be very good at his job, as he's a poor shot who also has a severe problem with dead bodies. One wonders how a cop as young as Calden gets to the rank of detective despite being less than stellar at his craft, but I guess you're supposed to ignore that.

- Shelton and screenwriter Robert Souza (a former cop who also moonlighted as a real-estate agent) decided to pack the script of Hollywood Homicide with as many cop-movie cliches as they could get away with. There's the investigation by the hard nosed cop from Internal Affairs whose sole purpose seems to be to complicate matters, there's the gruff police lieutenant in charge (this time played by Keith David) whose sole purpose is to bark orders. Also, there's the twist that Calden's father was also a cop, and he was killed in the line of duty. Conveniently enough, Calden gets a chance to avenge his father's death and bring down his crooked ex-partner (played by Dwight Yoakam). Heck, there's even a fight over a girl in this film, as Gavilan has unwittingly stolen Macko's girlfriend, a radio psychic named Ruby (Lena Olin). There's so much cliches packed into the script that at the end, none of the storylines are allowed to stand out, so you end up getting a bunch of brief glimpses at each one without any background or real meaning behind them.

- If you like your movies packed with cameos, well Hollywood Homicide is right up your alley. Not only does Robert Wagner play himself, but you also get Gladys Knight playing the mother of a young rapper (played by Kurupt) whom the police is after, Master P as a club owner looking for a new house, and Smokey Robinson as a taxi driver. Perhaps the most interesting cameo is that of Lou Diamond Phillips as a cop undercover as a hooker. So, if you ever wanted to see Lou Diamond Phillips in drag, well I'd suggest you watch this film immediately.

Overall, there's not really a whole lot to say about Hollywood Homicide, because the film lacks substance. It's a paint-by-numbers buddy cop flick which tries to be clever, but ultimately falls short. Worst of all, it seems as if the film is caught in a middle ground between a comedy and a drama, and at the end, it's not humorous enough nor dramatic enough to be either. There's a few humorous moments in the film, and the climatic chase scenes, while overly drawn out, have a few intriguing action sequences, but it's not enough to make up for a muddled story and mostly boring first hour of the film. Overall, I'd give Hollywood Homicide a 3.5 out of 10, as it's a rather unremarkable film that offers hardly anything original and is well below the usual efforts of both Harrison Ford and director Ron Shelton. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about this review or Hollywood Homicide in general, then share them by leaving a comment. Also, if you have an idea for a future review, then share those with me either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at

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