Rent-A-Cop

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Detective Tony Church (Burt Reynolds) has just been thrown off the police force, and he is none too pleased about it. You see, Church seemed to have a lock on a drug bust as part of a sting operation, when it all went downhill in a major way. After some corrupt vice cops leaked the news of the bust to the dealers, Church and his men were doomed once that information was released. But Church and his fellow detectives didn’t know they were being expected, so the bust went ahead as planned, but the result wasn’t what Church had in mind. During this bust, Church’s men were gunned down and the dealers made off with two million dollars in cash, the bait from the bust. Now that Church is off the force, he’s trying to figure out what went wrong and restore his name, which would allow him to return to the force. This chance comes along in the form of Della (Liza Minnelli) a prostitute who was the only surviving witness to the botched bust. So Church takes her under his wing, uses her information to track down the responsible dealers, and return to his life of protecting and serving. But believe me, it won’t be that easy…

This is one of those movies that always ends up taking a beating from more snobbish reviewers, but I have to take a stand and this film serves its purpose well. This film makes no efforts to be classic traditional cinema, it just offers a fun chance to relax and watch a movie, without having to think the whole time. Sure the dialogue is poor and the movie doesn’t offer much in terms of deeper meanings or symbolism, but come on people, did you expect it to? If you watch an 80s Burt Reynolds movie expecting complex and cerebral cinema, you obviously don’t know much about movies. In order for this movie to really work, I think you’ve got to be a fan of Burt Reynolds’ older films. His more recent efforts are a far cry from his earlier movies, so make sure you know which Burt you’re in for with this release. Of course if you hate Burt and his trademark laugh, then this is one disc you’ll want to pass on. While I liked the movie, the disc is a whole different story. For details look below, but make you’re a fan of this movie before you plunk down the money for own personal copy. If you’re interested in this movie, by all means rent this disc and check it out, but let’s all hope a better version is released somewhere down the road.

This film was directed by Jerry London, whose career is dominated by television based projects. In fact, this was London’s first and final feature film even to this date, but here’s to hoping another motion picture is in the cards for him soon. While this isn’t a film that demands much in terms of technical directing, I do feel London delivered a solid backdrop for the actors. Some of London’s television directing efforts include Dream On, The Six Million Dollar Man, Kojak, and The Rockford Files. The lead is this film is played by Burt Reynolds (Mystery Alaska, Stroker Ace), one of my all time favorites in the acting field. While some folks hate the light comedies Reynolds made in the 70s and 80s, I think most of them are pure hilarity and worth the time to check out. This isn’t Burt’s finest film by a long shot, but he is loaded with machismo and all the elements we expect from him. Sharing the screen with Mr. Reynolds is Liza Minnelli, who plays an excellent counter to our lead. Minnelli (Cabaret) was featured with Reynolds in Lucky Lady, and I imagine that was no small factor in how the two came together here. The supporting cast also includes Richard Masur (Play It To The Bone), Robby Benson (Dragonheart II), James Remar (Blowback), and the psychic friend herself Dionne Warwick (Slaves).

Video: How does it look?

Rent-A-Cop is presented in a 1.33:1 or full frame transfer, which I believe is a cropped version of the original ratio. The video is much like the audio, it seems like what you’d get from a cable television showing of the movie. This is a little clearer and sharper than normal television, but still lacks the visual excellent we expect from this format. The movie is a little faded, but colors still look bright and only minor smearing is seen, also flesh tones seem natural. The contrast is soft, but doesn’t distract from the film much, as shadows still appear solid and somewhat detailed. This looks good enough to remain in my collection, but I am hoping for a widescreen release at some point.

Audio: How does it sound?

This release uses a stereo track for audio, which provides audio much like you’d expect from a cable television showing of the film. It’s not bad by any means, but when compared to a nice surround track it simply can’t measure up. But this isn’t a movie that demands much audio power, so the track manages to pass the tests in most categories. The music sounds as good as I could expect, as do the sound effects. The dialogue seems clean and never distorts. As far as stereo goes, this is a nice track.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This release contains some limited talent files. There are two trailers to be found, but neither are for this movie.

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