R Dir: Heywood Gould | Kino Video | 1h 54min
Plot: What’s it about?
I don’t know how I missed One Good Cop. Not just in theaters, but all the years since. Being a big movie buff, this one simply went unnoticed until more recently. It features big name stars such as Michael Keaton and Rene Russo, but it simply flew under my radar. While I ultimately feel it warrants a look, it isn’t something I’m in a hurry to revisit any time soon. It still gets just enough right, however, to be worth your while.
Keaton plays Artie Lewis, a New York City detective who is hard working and is married to a wife Rita (Rene Russo) and works alongside his partner, Stevie Diroma (Anthony LaPaglia). Stevie lost his wife recently, and this seems to be taking a toll on him. He has three young daughters and Artie gives him constant encouragement as well. It’s clear these two have a good rapport. Fairly early on in the film, Stevie is killed in the line of duty by a drug addict named Mickey Garrett (David Barry Gray). With his three daughters now orphaned, Artie learns that Stevie had him in his will. He’s now the legal guardian to the three girls. It’s soon revealed that Artie and Rita can’t have kids of their own, so in some ways this is a nice change of pace for them, but Artie isn’t exactly jumping at the situation. Not only do we follow his journey of trying to buy a bigger house for his wife and the three girls, but we also follow his duty as a detective. This includes a subplot involving Artie going after a local drug kingpin named Beniamino Rios (Tony Plana). Benjamin Bratt does good work here as a new detective partnered with Artie after Stevie is killed.
For the most part, One Good Cop is a fairly straightforward film, but there’s an interesting twist later in the picture. I won’t go into specifics, but a main character makes a rather difficult choice. Sure it’s for the greater good, but it asks the question do two wrongs make a right. I was drawn into the film early on, but it did kind of lose me a little bit after a while. I enjoyed the earlier section with Artie and his partner, even though I knew where things were headed. I think pacing becomes an issue here as it loses some steam midway through. The ending is a bit flawed, but still somehow works and performances are all top notch. These factors help elevate some of the well-worn material found here. This isn’t some forgotten classic, but it’s worth checking out as the pros just outweigh the cons. I’d advise a rental or catching it on cable before anything else.
Video: How’s it look?
This was available before, but this marks my first time viewing the film. For the most part the transfer really satisfies. We get sharp detail in close-up and background shots. There is a bit of grain and some wear on occasion, but it’s never overpowering that it pulls us out of the film. The image is AVC encoded with a 1.85:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Fairing pretty good is the DTS HD track which has a good balance between quieter scenes and the louder action scenes. You may want to keep the remote nearby to adjust the volume at times, but it presented the film strongly. There’s a 2.0 track here as well, but the 5.1 is the way to go. Vocals were crisp and clean sounding, as well as the gunshots and background city banter throughout the film. It serves the film well.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – Director Heywood Gould and Kino producer Heather Buckley provide a commentary track for the film. It’s a solid track with the usual ground covered. We hear about locations, casting, stunts and several other topics. For fans of commentaries and/or the film, it’s worth a listen.
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
A fairly interesting premise, good performances and decent execution help elevate this film. It can be a bit slow at times, but there’s enough good here to warrant a viewing. I wouldn’t say owning it is essential, but it’s worth a rental.