Thursday, June 9, 2016

Hard Time

Year 8, Day 161 - 6/9/16 - Movie #2,360

BEFORE: I was going to try and go chronologically through Burt Reynolds' career, but that won't really work for my linking purposes, since I want to end on his early-ish Western films.  So I'm putting all the crime films together, and I just moved this one up on the schedule, because like "Stick", it's set in Florida - so as long as we're there, I might as well organize the crime films by location.  

This also allows another actor to carry over from "Stick", too.

THE PLOT:  Logan McQueen, a veteran, tough cop who likes to see justice done by his own ways, is framed for murder.

AFTER: A few months back, when I knew I was going to put together a Burt Reynolds chain, I used my DVR to search for all of his movie appearances that were airing - might as well, right?  And I stumbled on this series of three "Hard Time" movies, which were made for TV back in 1999-2000, but they were airing on the Encore channel as if they were regular movies, with the commercial breaks taken out, that is.  So with their running times cut down to 100-110 minutes, I might as well give them a whirl - a movie is a movie, right?  Regardless of where it first aired.  

Well, the first one's not terrible, but it's not great, either.  I can't take Charles Durning seriously, not because of his hairpiece this time, but because he was cast as a cop, Logan McQueen's partner, but the actor, and therefore the character, was much too out of shape to be a cop.  Sure, there could be fat detectives or hefty squad captains, but out in the field, chasing down perps, that's no place for a fat guy.  He'd either be forced by his c.o. to lose weight, or he'd have a heart attack chasing down a mugger in fairly short order.  

It's easier to take Burt Reynolds seriously as a tough-guy cop, of course.  One who's been reprimanded almost as many times as he's been awarded for bravery.  So it's in sort of "Lethal Weapon" territory any time you have a cop who doesn't play by the rules, and it's clear that someone wants him out of the way, so the only questions are who, and why?   And as with "Stick", there's a crime-boss who's now been shorted on a financial transaction and is demanding compensation.  

The IMDB description didn't really get this film's plot right, McQueen doesn't have to escape from prison, but instead he gets out on bail, which gives him an opportunity to try and clear himself.  The only trouble is, if a cop gets accused of murder, I'm pretty sure he shouldn't be working his own case to prove that he's innocent, even if he is.  That's what we call a conflict of interest.    

The district attorney also seems to want get him behind bars, but I don't think we ever find out why this is the case.  Is he just part of some "law and order" political campaign, or did he have some personal vendetta against McQueen?  This was pretty unclear.  It's a fair NITPICK POINT to wonder why the D.A. couldn't even imagine that a cop could be framed with a pile of phony evidence.  And where's the appeals process?  You can probably guess where this one ends up, because it's where the next film in the series needs to begin.  

Also starring Charles Durning (carrying over from "Stick"), Robert Loggia (last seen in "Lost Highway"), Mia Sara, Billy Dee Williams (last heard in "The Lego Movie"), Michael Buie (last seen in "Cedar Rapids"), Ja'net DuBois, with cameos from Roddy Piper and Alice Ghostley (last seen in "The Odd Couple II").

RATING: 4 out of 10 flamenco dancers

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