Cop Land

G

Sylvester Stallone reportedly put on forty pounds to play the part of a small town sherriff in Cop Land. It wasn’t worth it. This makes two flops in a row for Stallone whose disastrous Daylight wasn’t exactly commendable either.

Director James Mangold stages a thick, busy conspiracy plot. It involves a sherriff who is deaf in one ear and thus doesn’t qualify to actually be a policeman. It also involves a bunch of cops who got their wish when they were all transferred to a small town (cop land) from the NYPD. And their authority figures seem to be involved in some kind of mob conspiracy. That’s not even a bvery good idea to begin with. And to make things worse, Cop Land is missing any sense of excitement, suspense and drama, and thus missing a point. Harvey Keitel is typecast yet again, doing his tough-mafia-guy schtick, and don’t overestimate the size of Robert DeNiro’s role. Ray Liotta as Stallone’s cop friend is the only actor who comes close to respectability, because quite frankly, Stallone can’t hold his own and his performance is stale. He got maybe one action scene and that’s all. Now, I’m not objecting to the movie’s lack of action — I can never object to something like that, but action scenes are what Stallone lives for. He cannot bring depth to a character — he is an action star, and as Cop Land shows, that may be all that he will ever be.

The creative and powerfully staged climax, where Stallone finally gets to pick up a gun is surprisingly lacking suspense. When we actually find out what the conspiracy is, we are disappointed at the dull resolution.

Only Liotta’s character manages to grab our attention — Liotta brings a very welcome energy to his scenes. But even he, superb as ever, can’t save the movie. DeNiro is always good, but his role isn’t really big enough to contribute to the picture. In the middle of the movie, DeNiro offers to bored Stallone something to do. He doesn’t take him up on the offer and neither does the movie. Mangold pretty much keeps the characters — as well as the audience, bored to death from there until the end.

No drama, suspense or excitement in this dud. Don’t waste your money. Rated R.

-- Eugene Novikov

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