Clint Eastwood’s 1990, buddy cop picture, The Rookie is one of many of his films to be getting a Blu-ray release recently.
In this one, Eastwood’s veteran cop Nick Pulovski is partnered up with Charlie Sheen’s David Ackerman, following the death of Pulovski’s partner at the hands of Raul Julia’s German mobster Strom. Puvolski and Ackerman set out to bring down Strom. There’s conflict between the gung ho Pulovski and the recently promoted and by the book Ackerman, given that the pursuit of Strom isn’t within their department’s remit.
Let’s cut to the chase here, then.
None of the actors come out of this well. Eastwood seems like he’s reading from cue cards when delivering his pithy one-liners, Sheen seems uninterested throughout, delivering each line in a subdued manner. Given Sheen’s problems with alcoholism and drugs at the time, it kind of explains his performance, but it also begs the question: was there really nobody more suitable who could have played this role?
Raul Julia is wasted here and Sonia Braga seems even more out of place than most of the others.
The script is full of one-liners that crash and burn spectacularly and incredibly clunky dialogue that make it hard to take the film seriously.
It’s impossible to discuss this film on any level and not discuss the rape scene. It’s very rare that scenes like this are contextually justified, serve the story, or are anything other than superfluous to requirements, but this scene is even more gratuitous than most. This is perhaps notable for being an example of a male being the subject of the sexual assault, which garnered the film considerable publicity around the time of its original release. Sonia Braga looks extremely uncomfortable during the scene, little surprise given the fact that the director of the film is her partner for the scene.
The film also outstays its welcome considerably. There’s really no need for it to clock in at just over two hours. In addition to the scene mentioned above, there are others that seemed out of place and I certainly wouldn’t have missed them had they not been there.
On the plus side, a couple of the action sequences are well handled and would have, no doubt, been quite impressive for the time it was released. Sadly, this isn’t enough to recommend this film that’s so full of problems.
I find it crazy but something of a relief that Eastwood followed up a ridiculous movie like this with the sublime Unforgiven and the only reason that anyone should chose this over the aforementioned film or any of his recent output is if they were working though Eastwood’s back catalogue chronologically.
I’m a fan as Blu-ray, but fully appreciate that it’s a format with plenty of detractors. Sadly, this is the kind of release that plays into the hands of the detractors. Such little thought and attention seems to have gone into this release it makes you wonder why they bothered at all.
There’s hardly a wealth of extras here. Short of a theatrical trailer (presented in 480p, with plenty of grain), scene selection and a choice of language options for audio and subtitles, there’s nothing here to shout about.
The presentation of the disc is poor, with the video quality being so low that it’s barely an upgrade over the theatrical trailer mentioned earlier. The Warner Bros logo that appears when you fire up the disk looks great. Sadly, it’s all downhill from there.
A lot of the movie’s key scenes play out at night and in these scenes it’s incredibly hard to make out any detail. There’s plenty of moments of graininess, certainly too many to list here.
The sound department seems to have had similar levels of attention to the video. A lot of the dialogue is fairly indistinguishable at times unless the volume is cranked up high, which is a little problematic when any action scenes take place. The action itself does sound great at times, it’s just a shame that the issues with the dialogue keep cropping up throughout the film.
In short, this is one for Eastwood completists only and, even then, thought should be given as to whether it’s worth the upgrade.
The Rookie will be released on Blu-ray on June 7 and can be pre-ordered from the Den Of Geek Store.