Hollywood Homicide

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) is a veteran detective with a second career, working in the field of real estate. He buys a house, undertakes loads of improvements, then sells it for a higher price, which allows him to take on more projects. This could have proven to be a brisk trade for Gavilan at times, but these days, his real estate hasn’t moved an inch. The premise seems promising, with a good chance for a solid profit on each project, but Gavilan can’t seem to sell his latest house, which puts him in a financial crunch. His new partner also has aspirations outside of the police force, but is having minimal luck. Kasey Calden (Josh Hartnett) has two side jobs, one as a yoga instructor, which has worked out well enough, though his dreams of being a movie star haven’t gotten close to becoming reality. But all of these problems have to left at home, as a high profile murder case demands the full attention of the partnership. A rap artist was gunned down in a club, which means Gavilan and Calden need to delve into the world of rap music. As the search for the killer continues, the two find themselves scrutinized by Internal Affairs and at the same time, are burdened by the woes of their personal lives. Can they somehow work together to overcome their problems, as well as capture the criminals?

This movie had big stars, big stunts, and a big budget, but Hollywood Homicide couldn’t produce big box office returns. Harrison Ford is often a sure thing in terms of box office, but even he couldn’t manage to sell this movie, which looked horrible in the previews. I skipped this one at theaters thanks to the poorly executed trailers, but when it hit DVD, I decided to pop in Hollywood Homicide and see if it deserved the cold shoulder. I can’t say the movie deserved to be a smash hit, but in truth, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Ford is at the end of his action blockbuster days, but he uses his age as a comic element here and it works quite well. As always, Josh Hartnett is flat and wooden however, which means Ford has to shoulder the entire burden. The premise has been done countless times, with a veteran police officer partnered with a rookie, both of whom have personal issues that impact their police work. But some new twists are thrown in to keep things fresh and for the most part, Hollywood Homicide never feels that recycled. You’ll have the feeling like you’ve seen it all before, but just enough new turns have been injected. Perhaps it was just my lowered expectations, but I had a solid time watching Hollywood Homicide. Columbia’s disc is good too, so if you’re interested, give this one a rental.

One of the heaviest hitters in box office history, Harrison Ford hasn’t been that active of late, as he makes a transition in his career. He was once known for his action driven pictures, even up to more recent times, but the window on that era is closing down. He can still bring a lot of presence to the screen, but as seen in Hollywood Homicide, his action & adventure days have almost come to their conclusion. Whenever Ford has to run or do stunts, which he performed his own here, you can tell he has lost a few steps. Each stride seems to be a struggle in some scenes, but then again, a theme on showcase here is the aging process. So it is obvious Ford knows his action stars are at a close, unlike a lot of stars who continued to push on, even when it was clear it was time to move into another area of cinema. And in the case of Ford, we all know he can act, as well as so do action, so his career shouldn’t suffer that much. I would file Hollywood Homicide in with his lesser works, but his presence does make it more fun to watch. Other films with Ford include What Lies Beneath, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Air Force One, Frantic, and Blade Runner. The cast also includes Josh Hartnett (Pearl Harbor, 40 Days and 40 Nights), Lena Olin (Queen of the Damned, Mr. Jones), and Bruce Greenwood (Thirteen Days, Below).

Video: How does it look?

Hollywood Homicide is presented in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen, with a full frame version also included on this disc. I expected a terrific visual effort here, since this is a new release from Columbia and I wasn’t disappointed. It all starts with a clean source print, which ensures softness and debris are never problems. The image is sharp and crisp throughout, with no real edge enhancement or halo concerns to mention. I found colors to be bright and rich, but never to a point of oversaturation, while flesh tones have a natural appearance. I saw no troubles with contrast either, as black levels remain stark and refined at all times. Another great treatment from Columbia, so fans should be most pleased.

Audio: How does it sound?

The video isn’t the sole impressive element here, as the included Dolby Digital 5.1 option shines and provides a great experience. This flick has a lot of gunfire, high intensity chases, and explosions, which means ample chances for the speakers to show off. The surround channels are active often and to effective ends, which means a lot of directional presence and in some cases, just flat out power on showcase. I was surprised by how deeply and frequently the bass kicks in, as it supplies some real impact at times. The music also sounds good, with a lot of life in the surrounds, while dialogue is clean and error free as well. This disc also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Ron Shelton provides an audio commentary track, but it proves to be uneventful and filled with unwanted narration. I have enjoyed some of Shelton’s previous tracks, but here he simply tells us what is on screen too often, which grinds the session to a halt. A few good pieces of information do come out however, so if you loved the picture, then the session is worth a listen, even if just for the first half of the movie. This disc also includes a selection of talent files, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.

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