Directed by Ron Shelton
Written by Robert Souza and Ron Shelton
Produced by Lou Pitt and Ron Shelton
Starring Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Martin Landau, Isaiah
Washington, Dwight Yoakam, Lou Diamond Phillips, Jamison Jones and Keith
visiting Josh Hartnett's yoga class, Harrison Ford considers dumping
Calista Flockhart after he realizes that she'll never be able to
bend like this without breaking.
Homicide" plays as if the filmmakers spent most of their time thinking
of throwaway jokes and clever details, then realized that they needed
a story and threw something together. The film feels like you could
fall asleep through an hour of it and not miss anything, but at the
same time, you want it to take off to comic heights because it’s
almost got something.
Because it’s not worth investing energy in the story, the clever
material doesn’t leave the same impression as it would in a thought-out,
well made film. It’s difficult to get behind a murder mystery
in which the detectives do little detective work and the mystery sort
of solves itself so that an obligatory car chase can take place.
Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett play a veteran homicide detective and
a rookie detective (respectively, if you couldn’t guess). Here’s
where the fun details come in: Instead of working in security while
off-duty, Ford’s character, Joe Galivan, is a real-estate agent
and Hartnett’s character, K.C. Calden, is a yoga instructor.
Galivan is stuck with property that he owns in Mt. Olympus; he’s
in debt, owing alimony to his three ex-wives. He spends much of his
cop time, including the film’s climax, talking on the phone trying
to cut a deal. Calden, on the other hand, originally started as a yoga
instructor to get laid, but now sees that "there’s something
to this spiritual crap."
Ron Shelton, whose films include "Bull Durham," and "White
Men Can’t Jump," rather sloppily directed this film. While
individual scenes play out nicely, the film as a whole gets mangled
up with failed high ambitions. The film could have pushed further and
succeeded as a full-fledged comedy, but there are scenes that expect
us to take the murder mystery seriously, despite it being utter nonsense.
The investigation involves the murder of the four members of an up-and-coming
rap group during a concert at a local club. The main suspect is the
president of the group’s record label, because the band was thinking
of leaving as he’s a power-hungry, money grubbing maniac. There’s
also a sub-plot involving Calden’s search for the man who killed
his father, a police officer who was shot on the job under shady circumstances.
The film is at its weakest when it gives the slightest suggestion that
any of this is at all interesting. It’s at its best when it lets
us watch Ford and Hartnett work together and shows the amusing details
of Hollywood scandal.
We see the music industry, the film industry, acting (Calden aspires
to be an actor and rents a theater for a showcase of "A Streetcar
Named Desire" starring himself as Stanley), psychics, TV camera
crews and shopping areas. It’s an amusing sample of all the things
typically associated with Hollywood.
I can’t really recommend the film because it never goes as far
into the comedy as it should. But there are definitely scenes worthy
of mention, such as a wacky interrogation avoidance strategy, an on-foot
chase scene that repeatedly goes across a canal and the final chase
scene, which features botched car apprehensions and more realistic awkward
fights than you’d find in most movies. For summer entertainment,
you could find much worse, but you could also find better.