Scrappy banter, blazing guns and a rookie’s coming-of-age make for yet another Clint Eastwood police action-thriller. David Ackerman is an East L.A. policeman gone undercover, a plain-clothes detective who chooses the Grand Theft Auto Division as a means of advancement. His partner, however, is Nick Pulovski, a grizzled, short-tempered veteran who’s intent on avenging the murder of his previous partner.
Pulovski (played by Eastwood) is impatient, caustic, rude, and smokes cigars. Prone to violence, he is a rookie’s nightmare. Pulovski has his sights set on a car thief named Strom, the brains behind an extremely profitable chop-shop ring. Pulovski’s instincts tell him that Strom is not only a thief on a grand scale, but a ruthless murderer as well. This is therefore Pulovski’s chance to break a major case wide open and receive big-time recognition.
Pulovski coerces one of Strom’s thugs to turn informant. Angered that his chop-shop operation has been ruined, Strom kidnaps Pulovski and holds him hostage while demanding $2 million from the police force.
Ackerman, in the meantime, has been haunted by guilt over a childhood incident and struggles to overcome feelings of fear. Thus, that part of the double story-line which involves Ackerman’s triumph over guilt and fear comes when he gathers his resolve and says, “It’s time for me to stop being scared.” He goes nuts, basically, single-handedly wiping out an entire bar’s patrons in order to learn his partner’s whereabouts.
Ackerman intervenes on Pulovski’s behalf. Crashing through skylights and the like, Pulovski and Ackerman chase Strom to the airport. In a final shootout and chase across runways and through the terminal, the bad guys finally end up dead on the baggage carousel.
The violence in THE ROOKIE is extreme. Civilians are shot, and there are close-ups of bullet holes in the villains’ brains. If there is a gun battle on a freeway, you can be assured that all cars in the nearby vicinity will be wrecked, which they are.
What a travesty to portray the authorities in such a shameful light, who mutter close to 140 obscenities and profanities, displaying in character the same kind of vileness as do the villains. In fact, there is little difference in language and violence between the bad and good guys. Perhaps this is so because police action-thrillers have so conditioned us to think it’s okay to kill someone if he is a bad guy; and, the worse the guy, the worse he needs to be killed, which is done with absolutely no thought to Jesus’ admonition to love even those who hate you.
THE ROOKIE demonstrates more than ever the blurring of good and evil in our society. Christians, however, are not to behave like this, for as 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil for evil or insult for insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called.” The subject material expressed, then, is worthless for building a movie around — subjects like: murder, kidnapping, extortion, arson, gambling, destruction of property, and, of course, grand theft auto.
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Approximately 130 obscenities and 9 profanities; murder, torture and extreme violence; kidnapping, extortion, and gambling; substance and alcohol abuse; destruction of property and arson; sexual lewdness; and, grand theft.