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Movie Review

This strategically cast action/comedy teams crusty, hot-tempered LAPD veteran and part-time real estate agent Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) with K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), a hunky young rookie and wannabe actor committed to avenging the death of his lawman father. They wind up investigating a music-industry whacking that claimed the lives of four budding rappers. As they chase down clues, follow leads and pump informants, the mismatched partners must confront hip-hop gangstaz and dirty cops on the streets of Hollywood.

positive elements: Police put themselves in harm’s way to stop the bad guys. K.C. jumps on a wild gunman, leaps into action against car thieves and chases after fleeing criminals. Joe doggedly pursues and battles with Sartain, the rap mogul who’ll stop at nothing to keep his roster of artists loyal.

spiritual content: K.C. practices Hinduism and considers himself better off for being spiritually enlightened. He teaches meditation and yoga, wants to achieve his "bliss," and lectures panicked children on the merits of reincarnation. A love interest of Joe’s is a radio psychic, who lends her services to the case. Joe mocks her attempts to "get centered" and treats her craft as hooey until one of her predictions yields fruit, making him a believer.

sexual content: Both K.C. and Joe are popular with the ladies. The young yoga teacher admits that he got into it for the sex, which seems to involve a different woman every night. K.C. is waking up with a naked blond one minute and making out with a naked brunette in a hot tub the next (this eager girl doesn’t even care that he doesn’t remember her name). His locker is filled with books about tantric sex. And he asks his aging police partner how long it’s been since he’s gotten any action. Joe, a three-time divorcée, is sleeping with Ruby, the radio psychic who’s coming off a relationship with Joe’s arch-rival on the force. She blindfolds him and they undress each other as foreplay. On a separate occasion, he is passionate toward her before the cameras show them together the next morning. Joe is accused of a relationship with a Hollywood madam. He picks up a male undercover cop who’s posing as a hooker. Shapely women are seen in skimpy outfits or form-fitting workout attire. Some comments are dripping with sexual innuendo. In a comic moment, Eric Idle is dragged into the police station protesting that he wasn’t soliciting sex on the street, but conducting research. Joe assumes that because K.C. wants to be an actor, he must be a homosexual ("You’re gay; I can handle that").

violent content: A fistfight on a high roof ends with a man plummeting many stories and landing with a sickening thud in an empty trash dumpster (all leaving very little to the imagination). Wild chases include car wrecks and civilians being tossed about or forced to duck for cover during shootouts. Gunfire is exchanged on the street, in the subway, in an office building, etc. Although he shows some restraint upon cornering his father’s murderer, K.C. puts several bullets in the guy to wound and incapacitate him. Joe and K.C. get bloodied in battle. Flurries of machine-gun fire end with four dead rappers (the audience doesn’t see the actual murders, but the aftermath—in CSI fashion—as K.C. and Joe root around the crime scene). Joe punches a belligerent security guard. A criminal steals a cop’s gun and starts shooting. A man double-crosses a pair of hit men, shooting them dead before stuffing the bodies in a car and torching it.

crude or profane language: The name of Jesus Christ is abused a dozen times, with just as many misuses of God’s name (often teamed with "d--n"). There are also two f-words, more than 30 s-words, and approximately 30 other profanities or uses of crass, anatomical slang.

drug and alcohol content: Joe and K.C. down beers in a bar. At home, Joe pours himself whiskey and wine on separate occasions. Dialogue alludes to drug busts and someone doing crack.

other negative elements: A thug urinates on himself in graphic fashion. K.C. expresses a desire to kill the man who murdered his father. Both K.C. and Joe are shameless about doing "other" business on police time. These conflicts of interest involve (for Joe) visiting property, showing houses and calling clients, as well as (for K.C.) leaving a screenplay in a producer’s home and promoting himself as an actor. Joe’s lack of professional integrity finds him lying to both the buyer and seller to close a real estate deal (at least he faces consequences when the two parties confront him for his dishonesty). During an autopsy, the coroner accidentally sprays K.C. with fluid from the cadaver. Other corpses are merely charred remains.

conclusion: This film is both a love letter to and a gentle skewering of the arrogant, amoral excesses that make Hollywood what it is. Gunfire in the halls of a record label doesn’t faze one employee who stays on the phone making silly demands on behalf of a hip-hop prima donna. In another scene, a police helicopter can’t stop a fugitive from the air because so many news choppers refuse to back away and risk losing a big story to rival networks. And a young woman considers herself an accomplished actress after appearing in a Jell-O commercial. Only in L.A. If Hollywood Homicide had made more of dryly comic moments like those, the whole thing would have seemed a lot smarter. As it is, this calculated star vehicle crams in murders, chases, soft-core sexuality, corrupt police officers, ridiculous shootouts and other tired clichés from the buddy-cop genre. Besides which, no one east of San Bernardino will be able to identify with these mismatched, moonlighting partners. At least the makers of Beverly Hills Cop had the sense to import an outsider into the mix, letting Detroit cop Eddie Murphy react to So. Cal. absurdities on behalf of the average American. This movie isn’t that savvy. Beyond its artistic failings, Hollywood Homicide is loaded with offensive language, takes joy in violence, and asks families to cheer studs Ford and Hartnett as they "score" more often than the Anaheim Angels.

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Harrison Ford as Joe Gavilan; Josh Hartnett as K.C. Calden; Lena Olin as Ruby; Bruce Greenwood as Bennie Macko; Isaiah Washington as Sartain; Lolita Davidovich as Cleo; Dwight Yoakam as Wasley; Martin Landau as Jerry; Gladys Knight as Olivia Robidoux; Keith David as Leon; Lou Diamond Phillips as Wanda; also featuring rappers Master P., Kurupt and Outkast’s Andre Benjamin


Ron Shelton ( )




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Bob Smithouser

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