OK, stop me if you've heard this before: a figure of some authority with supernatural, nay, unbelievable levels of pain tolerance, fight the evils of crime for the good of themselves or the proverbial American people. Based on a comic book and played by a male who is recognizable in both film and television audiences, the story includes action, violence, humor and maybe a light dusting of love. I was talking about Officer Downe, what were you talking about?
Joe Casey adapts his comic book of the same name and Shawn Crahan, founder of the band Slipknot, directs. The officer in question is played by Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy), a Los Angeles cop who is resurrected repeatedly to fight crime, whether it's nuns with shotguns or kung-fu fighters with overdubbed English to boot. The thinking is apparently Officer Downe is like Deadpool, but it's closer in tone and actual story to Judge Dredd or perhaps even Robocop, which is good, but may lean towards the remake, which is not.
The film makes no bones about its grimy, raw nature. Hell, the opening scenes have a woman being pleasured by Downe. And with films like this, you get the usual random, ‘what the hell are THEY doing here?' cameos, be it Glenn Howerton (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) or Alison Lohman (Drag Me to Hell), the latter of whom playing one of the previously mentioned nuns. This may have something to do with Mark Neveldine, who produces Officer Downe but directed the Crank films and who worked with both actors occasionally through the years.
But with those cameos, and the addition of Lauren Velez (Dexter) as the police department's Captain, none of them really offer much to whatever the story is. Coates does attempt to offer a tiny bit of humanity near the end of the movie, but this is after 90 minutes of cartoonish violence shot stylishly and edited perhaps by some Michael Bay protégé all in the name of art but coming off more as self-parody than anything else.
If you want to do Judge Dredd, or Robocop or even Deadpool you better be sure to reach the emotional connections as well as the winks, nods, farts and boobie grabbing. Officer Downe spends too much time reveling in the latter without much time in the former, and it comes off to me as a concept of ‘what would happen if Adam Sandler made a hard R action film?' Things could have been better accomplished if those involved with Officer Downe watched one of those movies before doing this, and perhaps even pointed a camera on them watching those movies as well. God knows it would be more entertaining than whatever this is.
Magnet gives Officer Downe an AVC encode to go with its 2.40:1 high-definition widescreen presentation, and the results are excellent. The movie may be bad but it's nice to look at in high-definition, with blood appearing red or black depending on how a scene is lit. Colors look fine and natural as do the flesh tones, there's almost a mortician's wax appearance to Coates' skin which may or may not be his normal look? Nevertheless, it's an able Blu-ray.
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless for the film, and it's an active one. Many gun battles include channel panning and directional effects, heads getting blowed up or louder explosions incorporate the pleasant thunder of the subwoofer. Dialogue sounds consistent throughout the film, and smaller dynamic sounds like the ringing of a bell sound as clear as can be, all the while with heavy metal music playing under most of the film. It's loud, it's dynamic, and it all sounds impressive on Blu-ray.
There is a making of look at the film (15:03) that looks at the source material, as well as the costume, visual effects and fight rehearsals within. Coates also contributes an interview (11:01) where he shares his thoughts on the feature and on the quick production, among other items.
Simply put, there isn't anything in Officer Downe that's worth investing time or energy in seeing unless it can be found free somewhere, despite its good transfer and pleasantly surprising soundtrack. It may have been nice to see some of the more dramatically able performers in supporting roles but they don't get much to do and are forgettable as a result. Go watch those folks in other roles, then wonder how they could all get together for this.