Thursday, April 10, 2014

Top Cop (1990)

Here's another one from the Explosive Cinema action collection. I know I'm not going to be able to get through all of the movies on this collection, but the 1980s-1990s movies have some entertainment value. Not a lot, since they veer from entertaining cliches to dull action sequences, but they're worth a shot.

Top cop Vic Malone is a loose cannon who's always getting under the Captains skin because he never follows the rules.  We can tell Vic's a tough guy when he breaks up an illegal movie operation by walking onto the set and killing everyone.

Vic's partner Frank is ticked off, not only because Vic didn't call for back up, but because he didn't include Frank in the fun.  Vic explains that he didn't include Frank because he didn't want him to get in trouble, plus he's got a family and kids. This is the action movie equivalent of saying that Frank's only got a short time to live.

 The Captain sends Vic and Frank to Washington DC where they'll be on stand by in case they're needed to testify in the trial of drug lord Johnny Costello.  It's obvious this was a different time for airport security since the Captain asks him not to bring his weapon to DC. 

But since you never know what's going to go down, Vic carries his gun on the trip, which comes in handy in the airport bathroom when two muggers demand Vic and Franks wallets.  Well what other option does Vic have than to kill them. Now he's got another police captain yelling at him about following the rules. 

Vic and Frank head to the hotel bar to drink and stare at the pretty ladies, but get involved in a tussle on the dance floor after a couple gets in a physical altercation.  Well what do you know, they picked the one hotel in town where drug lord Johnny Costello likes to dance. And he's none to pleased to have some bearded buffoon tell him to stop beating a woman who made the mistake of wanting to quit dancing when she found out he actually came with another woman.  Luckily Vic carries his trusty grenade with him and threatens to blow up Costello and the entire bar.  

While Frank and Vic bond with the girls they rescued, Vic is handed a note with unintentionally gay overtones from Costello since it states, I always get what I want, and I want you. After a night with the girls and before they can testify, Frank ends up dead. Vic is in a rage, which is his usual disposition, and blames Costello. But the Captain mentions a serial killer called The Avenger who uses the same M.O. 

Vic wants to stay in town to investigate Frank's murder, but the Captain tells him the trial is over, Costello is free, and Vic needs to get the hell out of town.  But before he leaves, Vic manages to get in the way of the investigation, get yelled at several times by the Captain, make some homophobic slurs to Costello's effeminate butler, get dragged out of the room for manhandling the butler, and vows to find Frank's killer, which he spends the latter half of the movie doing, (when he's not being yelled at by a superior).

This movie is full of cliches. Just to run down a few:
  • a good cop who doesn't follow the rules
  • his partner is murdered
  • he'll do whatever it takes to bring his partners killer to justice
  • he's assigned a new partner that he doesn't want
  • his new partner is a rookie
  • although he kills tons of people, he's never locked up, just gets verbal warnings
  • the drug lord has a younger brother who's a stooge
  • there's a shoot out in a junkyard

 As for cliched dialogue, there's tons of that too:
  • I am too old for this shit.
  • I never threaten. I make promises.
  • You guys are dead. You just don't know it yet.
  • Victor Malone is a good copy but he doesn't follow the book.

While there are many times this movie is amusing, there are more times that it slows down and isn't that interesting.  Vic seems perpetually angry, always spitting out his lines with a scowl on his face.  He may have mistaken scowling for emotion.  There's a very awkward sex scene which comes after a first date that seems fairly innocent. It's not like there was any smoldering sexual tension prior to the abrupt cut from a sunny day walking down the street, to a night in the bedroom.  Also Vic reminds me of Jett Black from the Stranglers portraying a low rent version of Mitchell (which was already a second tier cop movie).
Vic and his perpetual scowl. That Vic is one bad mother....
"Shut your mouth."  Just talkin' about Vic.
Frank, there's a Tribble on your head
Only Vic could get into a shoot out in an airport bathroom 
So Urkel is my new partner?
Nothing threatening about that posture.
Why does this bruise make me think of Adam and the Ants?
The most disturbing thing is that it looks like his disembodied
head is perched on some weird mound of flesh
Walking a foot apart? Hand in your pocket to avoid
accidental contact? The body language says it all...
but the script says they're ending up in bed together.

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