Thursday, June 20, 2013

"Rampart": Police drama that doesn't inspire a rooting interest in the protagonist; Woody can't save it

I suppose the police drama “Rampart” (Millennium Films, directed by Oren Moverman) was inspired  in part by the LAPD beating of Rodney King in 1991.   In the snazzy-looking action, Woody Harrelson plays brutal renegade LAPD copy David Douglas Brown, around 1999 (the “strange days”).  He has a family of two female partners who are sisters, each of whom have born his seed.  
The film, on one level, is about his keeping this “family” together, and the internal affairs hearings where he has to answer for his brutality seem a bit contrived.  In the story, he is believed to have executed a serial date rapist himself, but gets brought up on charges again when caught on video beating up another driver who crashes with his police car. 
The trouble with this sort of film is that there’s not much reason to identify with the protagonist.  He doesn’t help the reputation of the LAPD.
The official site seems to be no longer active, but the film can be rented “legally” on YouTube for $2.99.  The DVD is on Netflix.  Technically, the film (2.35:1) looks quite sharp even without BluRay.  LA seems like a cool, sunny, smog-free place.  

I don’t think that the film compares too well to “End of Watch” (Dec 9, 2012).  It appeared in theaters briefly in early 2012 (after the awards release season  for 2011 – which tells you something). 

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