Overkill: Hollywood Homicide has it all-- and then some
Just as critics are beginning to feel summer movie overload, along comes an overloaded summer movie that gives us a good evening's entertainment.
Hollywood Homicide brings together two generations of Hollywood hunks, Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett, as police partners. Ford, doing probably the wildest comedy of his career, is technically back in his mentoring mode from Star Wars, though in need of some mentoring himself.
The script is credited to Robert Souza and director Ron Shelton. If it wasn't written by a committee, it's obviously the result of brainstorming in which many people suggested things to include in the movie and no ideas were rejected.
So you see more L.A. tourist sites (in the credits alone!) than any film in recent memory. You've got rappers Master P and KURUPT in a plot about the murders of rappers to bring in a young demographic for whom Hartnett is too white, and cameos by Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson plus some old Motown songs for their parents.
You've got Dwight Yoakam to bring in the rural whites, Martin Landau for the Jews, and cameos by Eric Idle, Robert Wagner, Frank Sinatra Jr., Johnny Grant and a brief scene by Lou Diamond Phillips in full drag. (I'm not sure who that's for.)
It seems even honest cops have sidelines in L.A. There's some mumbo-jumbo about how they have a lot of free time because they work a lot of overtime, which would seem to make scheduling difficult. Anyway, Joe Gavilan (Ford) is a real estate broker with three ex-wives to support and his assets all tied up in a white elephant of a house he can't unload. K.C. Calden (Hartnett) teaches yoga classes ("This spiritual shit– there's really something to it") and is thinking of dropping out of police work to pursue acting as a career. ("It's my bliss," he says. "I gotta follow my bliss.")
The latest quartet of dead rappers were shot in a club owned by Julius (Master P). They recorded for Antoine Sartain's (Isaiah Washington) label. While our heroes try to investigate, they're being dogged by Internal Affairs Lt. Bennie Macko (Bruce Greenwood), whose grudge against the pair will only get worse as the case progresses.
It's made abundantly clear that K.C. has more women than he can handle– or remember the names of– but he doesn't have any real love scenes in the movie, while Joe has two with radio psychic Ruby (Lena Olin). He may be old ("If I take my gingko I can remember where I put the Viagra") but he can still follow his bliss.
K.C.'s father was also a cop, and he was killed in the line of duty. Holy coincidence, Batman! Do you think that could somehow be connected to the case at hand? (If you don't think so, you must not see a lot of movies.) Actually, the real estate plot is more suspenseful than the murder story.
Action fans will get their fill of car chases, shootouts and such, including a funny scene that sends KURUPT running with the ducks.
And lovers of Tennessee Williams will appreciate the subplot about K.C. preparing to star in a showcase production of A Streetcar Named Desire, a bit of which we see at the end. When Joe runs lines with him he makes as bad a Blanche as you would expect.
Between Ford's world-weary investigator and all the jibes at the Southern California lifestyle I was reminded of one of my favorite detective movies, Harper. Hollywood Homicide isn't in that league, but while it may make you feel overwhelmed, you can't possibly feel shortchanged by the time it's over.