I remained oblivious, perhaps blissfully so, to the 1993 buddy cop/family film Cop & A Half with Burt Reynolds in a prime hairpiece era for him. I know it's out there, but there was never an urge to see it. Now for some reason, someone has decided to…reboot? remake? Make another installment to the franchise. And great news! It's about what you'd expect it to be.
Titled Cop and a Half: New Recruit, the cop in question is Simmons, played by Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba), a grizzled cop whose enthusiasm tends to have him break a rule or two in the department and run up against his captain. The half in question is Karina (Lulu Wilson, Deliver Us From Evil), a only child to a single mother, but she has a nose for detective work. The reluctant pairing fights a criminal named the "Badge Bandit," who let's face it, when it comes to why he's called this, the reasoning is thin. He is a ‘serial prankster who's causing mischief and embarrassing the police,' says the packaging. So Simmons and Karina try to figure out who this person is.
From the jump, let me say without equivocation that New Recruit contains little in the way of originality. Simmons is your prototypical loner cop, his boss (played by Janet Kidder, Bride of Chucky) is the hard rule enforcing boss, though not the over the top blustery type. As the story goes along, the obstacles that confront Simmons and Karina are similar to those in other films, and then a minor romantic wrinkle is introduced when Simmons seems to have a feeling or two for Karina's mom as he and his child detective become more used to one another. As they get closer to solving the case the obstacles get goofier, much as you'd expect for a film like this. They could have made a more dangerous villain or a straightforward chase but who wants that, really?
In the filmmakers' defense, the film hinges on the chemistry between Wilson and Phillips and it generally works for the most part. There is an emotional authenticity between them that makes the chemistry engaging to watch even if the story is wonting. Phillips has done better work for sure, but he gives Wilson things to work with in the film and it's repaid by Wilson, and the overall result isn't half bad. In a movie with a better story, dare I say that movie would be worth watching. This? Less so, by a bunch.
As my kid grows up and sees some of these films on television, there are going to be times where my steering him away from these films (or others that I won't like) will be futile. However, in the meantime I watched Cop and a Half: New Recruit late at night, dealing with the after effects of a cortisone injection earlier that day, and the film was a much more painful, and longer, experience. Maybe I SHOULD check out the original film…The Disc:
In 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, New Recruit lacks any issues in its transfer. Colors look fine and reproduced accurately, image detail is sufficient and devoid of edge enhancement, and is natural as can be given a TV movie.The Sound:
There is a 5.1 surround track to go with it and there are moments (like during a third act drone attack) where the rear channels get some directional effects with the whirring of the prop blades, and someone awful close to a low end is present during an explosion or two. Dialogue is consistent and requires little compensation, and presumably this and the transfer are accurate representations of what occurred when the film first aired. No complaints about Universal here.Extras:
2 small featurettes accompany the film: a making of (5:20) looks at the story, the buddy cop dynamic, the modest production and what the message the film may be sending, while "Partners in Crime" (4:04) looks at the dynamic between the two leads.Final Thoughts:
After 90 minutes of Cop and a Half: New Recruit, I'm wondering just what the motivations or even the point of borrowing from that mythology to do a new film. And if I'm wondering, I'm presuming the production did as well? It's a nice disc technically, and the extras are quick and forgettable. If you're looking for something to watch…I'm sure there's a test pattern somewhere that can help you out.