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  Rookie, The Cop And A Half
Year: 1990
Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Clint Eastwood, Charlie Sheen, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga, Tom Skerritt, Lara Flynn Boyle, Pepe Serna, Marco Rodríguez, Pete Randall, Donna Mitchell, Xander Berkeley, Tony Plana, David Sherrill, Hal Williams, Lloyd Nelson, Mara Corday
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: David Ackerman (Charlie Sheen) has had that dream again, the nightmare where he relives the moment his brother died from falling off a building which he blames himself for all these years later. But he has more important things to concern him now, as he's a cop looking to partner a more experienced member of the force, someone like Nick Pulovski (Clint Eastwood) for example. Last night Pulovski was tracking a ring of car thieves when his partner was shot dead by the gang leader, the now-wealthy Strom (Raul Julia), so Ackerman is keen to make a good impression...

Of all Eastwood's movies, certainly among those like this which he directed, few had such a bad reception as The Rookie, as he was gaining new status for himself as a creator of a more civilised entertainment than the action genre he had made his name in, and this example was viewed as a big step in the wrong direction. However, no matter that critics and fans alike were scathing, over the years a following was amassed among those who thought, yeah, it's no classic, but it's actually quite entertaining in its daft way. The trailer famously had that car driving out of an upper window in a warehouse which then exploded hugely, so it had that in its favour to stick in the mind.

Although that was a double-edged sword, as it also summed up the naysayers' attitude that any film containing such a ridiculous sequence could not be any good. On the other hand, there was a significant number who thought the opposite, and that kind of business was exactly what they wanted to see in their action thrillers, and besides, it may have been downplayed in the publicity, but this movie was pretty funny on purpose. It wasn't a laugh riot or anything, but there was a decent amount of solid chuckles here, and the odd belly laugh as Clint made with the one liners and got into some absurd situations.

Basically this was yet another buddy movie, and made no secret of the fact it was going to revel in the conventions for a couple of hours thanks to a script by Scott Spiegel (who co-wrote Evil Dead 2 among other things) and Boaz Yakin (soon to direct his own verging on trashy thrillers). These two men evidently were bringing a slightly spoofy take on the style, mostly you have to assume from Spiegel's side, as why else would the Eastwood character get sidetracked for a full half our of the running time so that he could be kidnapped, tied up and "raped" by Strom's right-hand woman of very few words, Sonia Braga?

Ludicrousness such as that was par for the course in The Rookie amidst jokes about cops eating doughnuts and splashy setpieces such as the chase along the highway between Pulovski's police car and Strom driving a transporter full of stolen cars which he keeps letting loose into the cop's path - naturally, being an ex-racing driver (!) he negotiates these obstacles with ease. This was one of those movies where if you started to think about what you were watching for more than two nanoseconds you'd find yourself scoffing at how bloody idiotic it was, but such was the material that often gets termed a guilty pleasure. You could not in any true conscience call this a high quality movie - apart from the level of its stuntwork, which was undeniably impressive - but if you were in the mood you could say, fine, Sheen is playing a zillionaire's son who wanted to be a cop, and fine, Eastwood may be pushing seventy but he's still in great shape to continue on the force. Give this a try, you might enjoy yourself. Lalo Schifrin-esque music by Lennie Neihaus.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Clint Eastwood  (1930 - )

Becoming a superstar in the late 1960s gave Clint Eastwood the freedom to direct in the seventies. Thriller Play Misty for Me was a success, and following films such as High Plains Drifter and The Outlaw Josey Wales showed a real talent behind the camera as well as in front of it. He won an Oscar for his downbeat Western Unforgiven, which showed his tendency to subvert his tough guy status in intriguing ways. Another Oscar was awarded for boxing drama Million Dollar Baby, which he also starred in.

Also a big jazz fan, as is reflected in his choice of directing the Charlie Parker biopic Bird. Other films as director include the romantic Breezy, The Gauntlet, good natured comedy Bronco Billy, Honkytonk Man, White Hunter Black Heart, The Bridges of Madison County, OAPs-in-space adventure Space Cowboys, acclaimed murder drama Mystic River, complementary war dramas Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima and harrowing true life drama Changeling. Many considered his Gran Torino, which he promised would be his last starring role (it wasn't), one of the finest of his career and he continued to direct with such biopics as Jersey Boys, American Sniper and The Mule to his name.

 
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