June 19, 2003 -- “Hollywood Homicide” is a funny action comedy that, with tongue in cheek, pokes fun at cop detective buddy movies, the record business, real estate, New Age wackos, and just about everything else in Hollywood.
Written, directed and produced by Ron Shelton (“Dark Blue”), along with co-writer and co-producer Robert Souza (an LAPD detective for 25 years before getting into the movie biz), “Hollywood Homicide” is covered with movie and music in-jokes. Not long after we hear a Smokey Robinson song on the movie soundtrack, we see the real Smokey Robinson (in his acting debut) driving a cab commandeered by a cop in one of the car chases in the film. We also see rock and roll hall of famer Gladys Knight (of Gladys Knight and the Pips) playing the mother of a songwriter on the run from the law. In another scene, Ford runs through a crowd in front of the historic Mann Chinese Theater in Hollywood, splashing wet concrete over Robert Wagner, who is getting ready to put his hand and footprints into the Walk of Fame. In another scene, there is a traffic jam of news, police and traffic helicopters covering a rooftop chase. In another scene, two desperate cops use the mystic powers of a radio psychic to try to find a killer.
The plot has Ford (“Sabrina”) and Josh Hartnett (“O”) playing two homicide detectives, Joe Gavilan and K.C. Calden, who are trying to solve the murder of a rap group at an upscale Hollywood nightclub. The only witness, a rap writer named K-Ro (played by rapper-actor Kurupt), is proving hard to find, both for the cops and for the murderers who want to silence him. In addition to that, a rogue internal affairs cop is trying to build a case against Gavilan because of a grudge. In addition to the usual “you've got 24 hours to solve this case” Gavilan is up against another deadline for selling a multi-million dollar house. There are conflicts of interest all over the place, as Gavilan is trying to sell houses to people involved in a murder investigation and he's representing both the seller and the buyer of one property. A lawyer is also representing both the seller and buyer. Gavilan is also trying to sell property he owns.
There are so many coincidences in the movie, you would think it was set in little a town of 100 people instead of a massive city of 11 million. In one scene, Ford is chasing a crook down an L.A. street and he just happens to run into the very man he is trying to sell a house to. There is also the old movie cliché about how the detectives are working on one case and it just happens to be related to another seemingly unrelated case from years ago that they are interested in. In this film, I think the coincidences are just part of the satire on cop movie genres in general. There are a lot of funny bits in the film. It was almost worth the price of admission to see Lou Diamond Phillips in drag. The dynamic between Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett is pretty good. Hartnett's character, Calden, has a number of funny quirks, like an inability to remember the names of beautiful women. In one scene Calden manages to combine an acting audition and get a confession out of a crook at the same time. It is pretty funny stuff. Academy Award (TM) winner Martin Landau turns in a funny supporting performance of a washed up director. Lena Olin (“Chocolat”) steams up the screen as Ruby, Ford's love interest. Isaiah Washington of “Ghost Ship” is effective as record executive Sartain (he looks a lot like singer P. Diddy). Another singer, Dwight Yoakam, plays Leroy Wasley, an ex-cop involved in the case. This film rates a B.
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