Review: Hollywood Homicide

by Jake Sproul

Rating: (out of )
Grade: C+

At any given time, there are several types of films and film plots that are hot, hot, hot. Currently those types of films are comic book adaptations, remakes, and buddy comedies. When dealing with a buddy comedy, as we are in this case, it is important to note the dynamic between the two leads over all else. If for the review I just looked at the relationship between Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett in Hollywood Homicide, then it would without a question be a four star movie. Unfortunately for Hollywood Homicide, other factors like the story must be taken into account, and when we do that, Hollywood Homicide becomes only a mediocre film.

Joe Gavilan and his rookie partner K.C. Calden (although I thought it was “Casey” throughout the duration of the movie) have been assigned to the murder of an up-and-coming rap group called H20Klick. Joe, who moonlights as a real estate broker, and K.C. who moonlights as a Yoga instructor, begin to unravel the murder-mystery, which may go all the way to the top of the group’s record label, and the President of the label Mr. Antoine Sartain. As Joe and K.C. go deeper into the mystery, they discover that this murder may contain clues as to the murder of K.C.’s cop father. Joe is struggling financially, and decides to “co-mingle” his two jobs by negotiated the purchase of a 6 million dollar home for the owner of the club at which the rap group was killed. In addition to this, an old rival of Joe’s named Bennie Macko is doing all he can to make sure that Gavilan gets suspended from the force.

To say the very least, the script is a mess. There are so many different story lines happening at once, that you really have no idea what is going on. The “conspiracy” behind the death of K.C.’s father is hardly dealt with, and impossible to understand. The criminal investigation is wholly uninteresting, and I still don’t understand why they immediately suspected Sartain except it made for a better chase scene at the end. Joe’s on-going attempts to negotiate between a one-time great producer played by Martin Landeau and the owner of the club for the transaction of a massive home and a commission he desperately needs is very comical, and the one plot line that appears to have been thought through by the writers.

As I discussed earlier, Josh Hartnett and Harrison Ford make an excellent team on screen. Their charisma is able to make a film that’s stupidity would have normally infuriated me actually enjoyable most of the time. The evidence of the mastery of this pairing is no better shown than during the end, when they work together to take down the people behind the murders of H20Klick, in an adrenaline packed chase scene which is very well executed and surprisingly funny. I have not seen a better pairing than Hartnett and Ford in recent memory.

Every once and a while, you come across a movie that is marketed so horribly, that it makes you cringe. Such is the case with Hollywood Homicide. Everything from the bland poster to the misleading TV spots were disappointing. Since the film began its marketing campaign, it has advertised itself as a serious cop drama, and flat out comedy, an action comedy, and an action drama. The lack of continuity of the campaign is evident by the disappointing $12 million opening weekend.

The titular “Hollywood Homicide” is by far the least impressive feature of this movie. After, and even during my viewing of the picture, I couldn’t care less about or even who committed the aforementioned “Hollywood Homicide.” What is special about the movie though is the repertoire between Josh Hartnett and Harrison Ford. The two make quite a pairing, and manage to keep me interested even when the story began to form more holes than a big slice of Swiss cheese.

© 2003 Jacob Sproul

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