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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Hollywood Homicide
Hollywood Homicide
Columbia/Tri-Star // PG-13 // October 7, 2003
List Price: $27.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted September 18, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:


A buddy action/comedy in an age where they're starting to become a bit out-of-style, "Hollywood Homicide" (which does have sort of a late 80's feel at times) didn't exactly have a strong showing at the box office, despite the presence of Harrison Ford. Ford and Josh Hartnett play a pair of mis-matched Hollywood detectives - Joe Gavilan (Ford) and K.C. Calden (Hartnett), who spend their nights as cops and their days at other gigs - Gavilan's a real estate agent, while part-time yoga instructor Calden wants to be an actor.

They're half-hearted officers, both looking to get out of the force (Calden into acting, Gavilan into retirement from a real estate comission from selling a failed producer's house) when they find themselves investigating a shooting at a club. The crime was possibly put together by rap label boss Sartain (Isaiah Washington), but the two officers find their investigation in strained by the fact they're being investigated by Macko (Bruce Greenwood), an internal affairs officer who was the former partner of Calden's father, who also might be connected to the investigation.

"Hollywood Homicide" rambles around for most of its running time, but I still found it amusing for a few reasons. Firstly, Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett make a surprisingly good team, despite some reports that the opposite was true on-set. Ford actually seems to be having fun for the first time in several years, and his bewildered smile at what's going on around him is fun to watch. There's a certain throwaway quality to the way that delivers some lines that's amusing, as well. I've never particularly cared for Hartnett's acting, but his confused state plays off of Ford's comic gruffness quite well. Also, there's some good supporting performances by such talents as Martin Landau and Eric Idle, along with a handful of other cameos, as well. Bruce Greenwood even makes the cliched villian role of the stern internal affairs officer more involving than this character usually is in these kinds of movies.

"Hollywood Homicide" does, as mentioned, ramble: that's part of its problem and part of its charm - its casual style works, but there's a few things, such as Joe's relationship with psychic Ruby (Lena Olin), and another with an informant played by Lolita Davidovich, that could have been lifted to bring this down to more around 100 minutes. There's really nothing much new on display here, but "Hollywood Homicide" has some inspired touches - a chase that takes place partially on a paddleboat, a helicopter traffic jam as news crews follow a chase - and its unexpectedly effective pairing of lead actors.


The DVD

VIDEO: Columbia/Tristar presents "Hollywood Homicide" with both 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 pan & scan transfers, each getting a single layer of a dual-layer, single-sided disc. Despite the fact that the anamorphic widescreen transfer may have looked even better if it didn't have to share space with the pan & scan edition, it's still quite a fine effort. While the eventual Superbit release (wouldn't be surprised) might reveal a somewhat higher level of definition, this presentation remained crisp and well-defined throughout the picture.

Flaws remained fairly minor throughout the presentation. The brief presence of some very light edge enhancement in a couple of scenes was hardly an issue, and the great majority of the movie remained free of it. No compression artifacts were spotted, nor were there any issues with the print. Colors were well-saturated and crisp throughout, with no smearing or other faults.

SOUND: "Hollywood Homicide" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Although there are certainly some dialogue-driven passages of the film, the picture's action sequences put the surrounds to surprisingly frequent use, with strong ambience and nice extension of the action out into the listening space. The occasional rap songs on the soundtrack also are nicely reinforced by the rear speakers. Sound quality was superb, as sound effects had solid impact, a good (but not overwhelming) amount of bass was present and dialogue/music came through clearly.

EXTRAS: Director Ron Shelton offers an okay commentary. The director's rather low-key voice and occasional tendency to fall back on discussions of what's going on currently in the film makes for rather tough going, but there's the occasional interesting tidbit about casting, stories from the set and locations. Other than Shelton's commentary, there's not much: we get a trailer for Ron Howard's rather creepy looking upcoming drama "The Missing" (complete with a rather stunning 5.1 mix) and trailers for "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle", "Hollywood Homicide", "Radio", "Air Force One" and "Devil's Own". Filmographies are also included.

Final Thoughts: A light, mildly entertaining buddy cop comedy/drama with slight underlying elements of parody, "Hollywood Homicide" isn't anything wonderful at its core, but the lead performances and a few fun moments kept the film moving. It's not a bad rental, as while I didn't find it a bad movie, I can't see much replay value in it, either. Columbia/Tristar's DVD edition provides excellent sound and video, but not much in the way of supplements. Rent it.

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