ONE TOUGH COP
Down these mean streets
Starring: Stephen Baldwin, Chris Penn,
Gina Gerson, Mike McGlone, Amy
Irving, & Paul Guilfoyle
Runtime: 94 minutes
Distributor: Stratosphere Entertainment
Director: Bruno Barreto
Executive Producer: Michael Mendelsohn & Bo Dietl
Producer: Michael Bregman & Martin
Writer: Jeremy Iacone
Address Comments To:Please address your comments to:
8271 Melrose Avenue, Suite 200
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Phone: (213) 655-0593
Fax: (213) 655-7302
There are still a few heroes in today's crime fiction, as movies like DIE HARD and THE NEGOTIATOR show, but the violence, sexual immorality and foul language has increased so much that the heroism in these movies is often problematic and diluted. This is especially true if the hero defeats the villain purely out of revenge or other selfish motives. Worst of all, though, are the new neo-noir crime movies where the protagonist has few or even no redeeming heroic qualities, and the movie seems to be one long slide into degradation. Such was the case with a movie called PHOENIX which hit and left Los Angeles recently.
Unlike PHOENIX, the movie ONE TOUGH COP does try to rise above the corruption it explores. It has a truly sympathetic hero with a solid code of honor and, in that sense, hearkens back to the crime fiction of Raymond Chandler.
Inspired by the autobiography of a controversial New York cop, ONE TOUGH COP focuses on the true crime investigation of Detective Bo Dietl and his partner Duke into a savage rape/mutilation of a nun in East Harlem in 1981. Complicating their investigation is the fact that the FBI is itself investigating Bo for his childhood friendship with a leading gangster, who helps Bo find an informant that will lead him to the perpetrators. Also, Bo's partner is addicted to gambling and owes big money to one of the gangster's associates. In effect, this story gives ONE TOUGH COP two emotional focal points to hold the interest of the audience.
Shot crisply in color, ONE TOUGH COP features an excellent performance by Stephen Baldwin as Detective Bo Dietl. Baldwin imbues Dietl with a compassionate, friendly quality that brings the hard-working policeman to life. Despite his friendship with the gangster and some moral ambiguity, Dietl remains an honest policeman who desires to protect the weak from the strong. Regrettably, however, Mike McGlone as the gangster is not quite up to the task. His performance lacks the believable intensity of Baldwin's. This makes the plot involving him psychologically weak, in spite of an exciting finish.
Otherwise, ONE TOUGH COP is a typical R-rated crime thriller, in that it contains lots of foul language and some implied sexual immorality, but no graphic sex or nudity. Thus, despite its mostly honorable hero, the movie is not the complete throwback to a better age that MOVIEGUIDE readers would like to see. Some day, Hollywood may give us another exciting crime melodrama that is rated PG or even G, but that day is still a long way off.