One Tough Cop

STARS: Stephen Baldwin, Chris Penn, Gina Gershon, Mike Miglone, Paul Guilfoyle, Amy Irving, Luis Guzman,Victor Slezak.
YEAR: 1998
CATEGORY: Action, Crime, True story
DIRECTOR: Bruno Barreto

Ann's Review and Notes:

Rating 8 of 10

Although Stephen Baldwin has his detractors (mostly about his film choices). He cannot be accused of not having range. He consistently creates new and different characters. It’s hard to believe that Buzz (Under the Hula Moon), Bud (Biodome), Stuart (Threesome), and McManus (The Usual Suspects), are played by the same actor. In ONE TOUGH COP he gives his most divergent and interesting performance yet. He plays NYC detective Bo Dietl complete with a thick ‘fugedaboudit’ type accent. He beefed up for the role and has a beard to play Bo (who is a real-life detective although not all events depicted here are true). It’s obvious that Bo is an honorable man. In the opening scenes we see him risk his life to save a young girl (who is played by Bo’s real-life daughter) and his passion for solving a case of a murdered nun. He is, however, plagued with problems. His partner Duke Finnerty (Chris Penn) is a self-destructive and vice-ridden. He drinks, gambles and pisses off the wrong people. His friends he grew up with are from well-known crime families and he is falling in love with his best friend Richie’s (Mike Miglone) ex-mistress Joey (Gina Gershon). To top it off, the FBI have him under surveillance and try and get him to testify against his friends (Amy Irving plays one of the detectives and there are some great verbal sparring scenes between her and Bo). He refuses to betray them and they go after him instead.

When his partner crosses the wrong people and is in too much trouble to get out of, Bo has to decide a course of action. Can Bo save him? What will Richie do when he discovers Bo is sleeping with Joey? ONE TOUGH COP is an enjoyable detective film with superlative performances from Baldwin and Penn. Penn is perfect is self-destructive roles and the two work well on-screen. They previously worked together in Under the Hula Moon.

Brazilian director Bruno Barreto helmed this Jeremy Iacone screenplay "inspired by" New York detective Bo Dietl's 1988 autobiography, ~One Tough Cop: The Bo Dietl Story}. " During a routine drug bust, Bo Dietl (Stephen Baldwin) and his short-fused partner Duke (Chris Penn) encounter a hostage situation when Popi (Luis Guzman) kills his unfaithful wife. Bo gets Popi to release his young daughter, but the man kills himself. Bo's lifelong buddy Richie La Cassa (Mike McGlone), owner of the plush La Cassa club, didn't let marriage keep him away from attractive Joey O'Hara (Gina Gershon) -- an affair brought to a close by Joey. After she takes an interest in Bo, the atmosphere heats up considerably, causing a rift with Richie. In a sequence based on a 1981 incident, a nun is raped and mutilated at a Harlem convent school. Bo and Duke are not part of the investigation, which leads to trouble when they begin to get an inside track on the case. Their mob contacts attract the attention of two FBI agents (Amy Irving and Victor Slezak), who put pressure on Bo and Duke as part of a federal investigation. When Duke's debts to crime bosses become a problem, Bo steps in, creating yet more friction with his old pal Richie. Filmed in New York and Toronto, this film was shown at the 1998 ~Mill Valley Film Festival}. The real-life Bo Dietl occasionally turns up as a guest on "The Howard Stern Show". -- Bhob Stewart, All-Movie Guide


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