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Thursday, September 24, 2015

COP CAR -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

Sometimes you just want to lose yourself in a movie that's mostly action and sensation, without a lot of complicated "plot" getting in the way.  COP CAR (2015) is just that movie.  It's about a cop car.  And it stars Kevin Bacon.  All-righty, then!

Our favorite "six degrees of" guy stars as Sheriff Kretzer, a small-town lawman who has gotten himself into some really shady dealings (drugs, murder, whatever) and needs to dispose of a body real quick.  So he parks at the wooded edge of a vast, empty field, pulls the body out of his trunk, and drags it off into the woods to dump it down a well.  When he comes back, his patrol car is gone. 

And that's it!  The rest of the movie is Kretzer frantically trying to get his car back while hiding the fact that it's missing from the dispatcher and deputies on his force.  (Mainly because there's something else in the trunk that just might be slightly...incriminating.) 

But wait--there's more.  Who has the cop car?  Why, two mischievous young boys who have just run away from abusive homes and think finding an unattended cop car in the middle of nowhere is just about the most fun thing imaginable.  So now free-spirit Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and his somewhat more timid companion Harrison (Hays Wellford) are tear-assing up and down isolated rural highways with lights flashing and sirens blaring.  And Sheriff Kretzer on their trail. 

Co-writer (with Christopher D. Ford) and director Jon Watts (CLOWN, OUR ROBOCOP REMAKE) takes this simple premise and runs with it in lean, economic fashion all the way to the end without missing a beat.  And even as Kretzer closes in on the boys, a mid-story development of great importance occurs which detours the plot into a whole new area of suspense. 

Suffice it to say that Shea Whigham's nameless character (he's billed as "Man") has a bone to pick with Kretzer and has no qualms about using the boys as bait to lure him into a trap.  As this hyperactive loon scurries around preparing for the sheriff's arrival, the movie takes time to further develop the characters of Travis and Harrison as they sit trapped in the back seat of the patrol car on the side of the road. 

It turns out that they're a couple of interesting little kids with sort of a symbiotic relationship, and Wellford and Freedson-Jackson handle the roles with an impressive maturity.  This is the heart of the film which underlies all the other stuff and carries us to a hauntingly effective (though curiously abrupt) ending. 

But all that aside, we get to sit back and enjoy the sight of Bacon, Whigham, and Camryn Mannheim--whose character of "Bev" should've just kept on going when she saw that cop car whiz by her with a couple of kids driving it--engaged in a desperate flurry of action and violence that will result in somebody having a really bad day. 

The Blu-ray from Universal Studios Home Entertainment is in 1080p high-definition widescreen 2.40:1 with Dolby 5.1 audio and subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.  Bonus features consist of a promo short called "Their First and Last Ride: The Making of Cop Car" and instructions for downloading an HD digital copy of the movie.

One thing I liked about COP CAR is that the simple story gives Kevin Bacon, the filmmakers, and the rest of the cast plenty of room to stretch out and make the most of a promising idea.  It may not be the stuff cinematic dreams are made of, but this breezy little adrenaline rush of an action flick is just as terse and no-nonsense as its name. 

Buy it at

Street Date: September 29, 2015
Stills used are not taken from the Blu-ray


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