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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Cop Car (Blu-ray)
Cop Car (Blu-ray)
Universal // R // October 6, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ryan Keefer | posted September 28, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

There is always something to the general story about a kid or kids who are out in the joys of self-discovery and find themselves in an adventure larger than what they expect. It is as true now in recent films like Mud as it was more than a quarter century ago with Stand By Me. Cop Car follows suit though has a couple of interesting wrinkles to it.

The film is written and directed by Jon Watts, and starts with Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and Harrison (Hayes Wellsford) walking through Quinlan, Colorado, running away from home, passing the time with small talk about who can use the dirtiest profanity. They stumble upon an abandoned police car, and after poking around it to see what's inside, they find the keys, claim is as theirs, and take it for a joyride. As it turns out, the car is not abandoned, it belongs to Sherriff Kretzer (Kevin Bacon, Hollow Man). The Sheriff definitely wants to get the car back, less because of the embarrassment that he would endure from having two ten-year olds take his police car, and more for the cargo in the back, which might bring more complications than any of them expect.

For whatever reason, Cop Car for me harkened back to an old Tales of the Crypt episode titled "Carrion Death," where an escaped convict has to carry his handcuffed partner, a cop he killed, across the desert. There is the resourcefulness and determination that a policeman has in movies occasionally were they will never stop to get what they're pursuing, and Bacon, with a spot on moustache and running across the country in an undershirt, has that mix of comedy and madness that makes you not completely sure what he'll do to the kids when he finds them. The film seems unsure of how to handle that too to an extent, so rather than leave it between the three, there are the introductions of Camryn Manheim (The Practice) and Shea Whigham (Take Shelter) in the film that make things interesting, though ultimately a tad gratuitous for the story.

Like the films mentioned at the beginning of this review, the big key for Cop Car is whether the friendship between Travis and Harrison comes out stronger, or even has moments of poignancy during the film. And the pair do their best to try and make that connection to the viewer, but I think they come up short. Rather than have either or both of them be exposed to an experience that leaves them cynical beyond their years, the film tends to have them rely upon one another and their youth, which leaves them powerless in circumstances they run into over the course of the film. As the closest thing to a protagonist, Bacon's performance is one that allows him to show off some range in his work, and the turns that Manheim and Whigham provide are decent though brief. The work of the boys as actors is okay, but doesn't elevate the material much.

While the wrinkles in Cop Car are interesting in how they are different from prior films, ultimately the film does not have much behind it past those things. The film misses the big takeaway for the main characters and as such, winds up being more suited for Saturday night cult film viewing than substantial entertainment.

The Blu-ray:
Video:

The AVC codec Universal provides the 2.40:1 widescreen transfer for Cop Car is pretty, for lack of a better expression. The Colorado countryside looks excellent and detail is discernible in the foreground and backgrounds. Facial hair and clothing textures can be spotted in tighter shots, and colors are reproduced nicely, such as the browns of the dirt or dirt caked on a car. Moments that stray from the brown/green color palette look fine as well, and overall the disc looks great.

Audio:

DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround from Universal, and it sounds excellent. It does not get a lot to do for most of the film, but when the action picks up in the final act, gunfire is clear and makes for an immersive sound experience, and that first gunshot includes low-end engagement so you feel it in the pit of your stomach. Dialogue is consistent with no dropouts or hissing, and while the film generally does not ask a lot from its lossless track, it handles the workload with ease and little complaint.

Extras:

There is a three-minute look at the making of the film, titled "The Last Ride," and a digital copy of the film, but that's it.

Final Thoughts:

When you get past the absolute gloriousness that is Kevin Bacon's moustache (and are quietly impressed by his work in the film), Cop Car is entertaining for most of the film, but does not seem to want to venture into ‘very good' or ‘great' territory, and revels in the change of pace while forgetting the rest of the story. Technically, the disc is great, though the lack of any real extras hurts it from being something to actually consider buying. But it is worth checking out on cable at some point.

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