This is the double-feature pack you've been waiting for right? I mean the pairing of Michael Keaton and Melanie Griffith starring in two utterly forgettable 90s cop dramas is something you've really been meaning to add to your shelf, I know.
'One Good Cop' and 'A Stranger Among Us' are both as bland as cop movies come. That hasn't stopped Mill Creek Entertainment from trying to sex-up the packaging though. My favorite part of this release is that it quotes Roger Ebert's review on the back of the case, saying, "…slick and clever…" It's what those dots leave out that's crucial. If you go back and read Ebert's review on 'One Good Cop' he really said, "The movie is slick and clever, but it's immoral at its core, and the more you think about it, the more dishonest it seems." Nice try guys. And ironic.
'One Good Cop'
Ebert has it exactly right. This is a movie that tries, at every turn, to influence your emotions without the slightest regard to realism. It's a movie that favors ham-fisted drama to subtle changes in life. Above all though, it's just so, for want of a better term, boring. It's lifeless.
Keaton plays Artie Lewis, an NYPD detective. His partner, Stevie Diroma (Anthony LaPaglia) is shot and killed during a hostage negotiation. The two of them were extremely close, but now he's gone, leaving behind his three adorable daughters. Artie feels obligated to assume responsibility for the kids, who longingly gaze up at him, tears welling up in their eyes, screaming, "Where's my daddy!"
While the children's plight is heartbreaking, the way the movie trots them out in front of you is sort of despicable. There's no subtly here. No attempt to connect with real, human emotion. It's a sledgehammer to your senses. Sure the kids are cute, but you get the feeling that the movie is just using them to get on your soft side.
Besides dealing with the loss of his partner and his newfound parenthood, Artie is also going after the biggest drug kingpin in the city. See, the person that shot Stevie was on meth, and now Artie is going after the supplier.
The kingpin is a Scarface wannabe who talks a big game. Artie isn't scared of him even though he probably should be. What follows is a string of sensationally unbelievable events, culminating in one of the cheesiest shootout scenes in recent memory. All of which is handled discreetly when it comes to punishment so the movie can get a close up of everyone's smile before the credits role.
This is as cheesy as 90s cop dramas get. Keaton is decent enough, but the entire movie buckles under its own ridiculous weight.
Rating: 2 Stars
'A Stranger Among Us'
If you thought 'One Good Cop' was bad, wait until you get a load of Melanie Griffith's been-there-done-that fish-out-of-water tale about a mouthy female cop who is assigned to work undercover in a Hassidic Jewish community. She's assigned there because she is trying to find out who murdered one of the community's most beloved members.
Most of the movie is dedicated to Griffith's character, Emily Eden, guffawing at all the "strange" traditions Hassidic Jews have. Every time she learns something new about the culture she squeals and says, "Well, that's crazy." Of course she's a modern woman and the Hassidic men are perplexed by her ways too. The movie is filled with characters staring at each other wondering how weird they are.
The plot of who killed who really isn't interesting or necessary. The movie follows all the tropes that stranger-in-a-strange-land movies have to follow. Eden goes in with a variety of preconceived notions, but ends up learning far more about life and herself than she ever thought possible. Yawn.
There isn't a genuine moment in this movie. It's all a set up from a thousand different films we've already seen.
Rating: 1 Star
Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Both movies come pressed onto the same disc. The disc is 50GBs. It's housed in a standard keepcase. The back of the packaging notes the Region A coding.
At first I was going to split this section into two separate reviews in case one movie looked drastically different from the other. After watching them both, I no longer feel the need to do that. Both of these presentations are equally awful.
Nothing about either of these presentations screams high definition. They're terrible transfers to say the least. Noise is rampant and prolonged. Black areas crawl with all sorts of compression noise that it's almost unwatchable at times (this goes for both movies). When I say the noise is bad, it's really bad. It isn't just normal grain noise either. Both movies are pockmarked with all kinds of source noise be it scratches, fleck, blips, or color fluctuation.
Both movies feature hazy photography. The murky picture leaves little in the detail department. Outside light bleeds through edges and washes out faces, textures, and objects. Blacks are soullessly crushing. Nighttime scenes harbor little, to no detail. Nothing about these transfers looks good. In fact they don't look much better than one would expect standard definition to look.
Both movies have been given a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. The lossless track isn't much better. The sound design on both films is pretty sparse to begin with. The synthesized soundtracks are played far too loud in context to the dialogue.
Dialogue is often times soft and hard to hear. Hissing on the tracks can be heard too (especially 'A Stranger Among Us'). Directionality feels forced. There's no immersion here either. It's all front and center without any real depth.
Sound effects have a tinny aspect to them. Gunshots sound weak. Louder sounds like screaming and yelling never exhibit great dynamic range. Both movies offer pretty uneventful audio mixes.
There are no special features included.
I know people like to buy these because they can usually find them for $5 in the local supermarket bargain bin. Just save your money. I know a few bucks for two movies sounds like a good deal, but not when it's these two movies. And certainly not when they look this cruddy on Blu-ray. This double-feature is one to avoid.