When trailers for Cop Out debuted, I didn’t even muster a smile. I love Bruce Willis, but Tracey Morgan I can only just tolerate at times so the idea of watching him in a film didn’t sit well with me. But then as the credits flew by for the film, my eye caught a name I recognized. I frame stepped back and there it was—Kevin Smith. Was it the same Smith who brought us Dogma? I figured I would’ve heard more about this film if it was but…surprise, surprise, this actually was Smith’s new film. As time wore on more trailers came out and I eventually warmed up to it, mostly because Morgan began to grow on me on 30 Rock during this time but also because it was clear that the trailers were holding back plenty of material to go with the R-rating that this film eventually ended up with.
Officers Jimmy Monroe and Paul Hodges have their weapons drawn on a gun-wielding killer. They agree to shoot on three. But, wait, does that mean 1…2…shoot or 1…2…3…then shoot? Punches hit hard and laughs hit harder (or is it the other way ’round?) when action star Bruce Willis and ace comic Tracy Morgan pair as bickering-but-got-your-back Brooklyn buddy cops. Kevin Smith (Clerks, Chasing Amy) directs the gritty, goofball goings-on as the guys hunt for a stolen 1952 mint-condition baseball card (Jimmy needs it to fund his daughter’s wedding), a hunt plunging them into a gunslinging war with a deadly drug ring. Batter up, fans. The boys are ready to take you out to the ol’ brawl game!
This movie seems to be really misinterpreted by nearly everyone who saw it. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus for this film is “Cop Out is a cliched buddy action/comedy that suffers from stale gags and slack pacing.” Watching the film, which boasts an 80s soundtrack that could make the best buddy cop movie from decades past blush, I can’t help but wonder what reviewers thought that they were going to get from this one—it clichéd because that’s what it’s supposed to be. Was the joke too obvious? Admittedly it made the film immediately less original, but nonetheless once you saw and embraced what this film was going for the end result ended up being something much funnier than it should have been.
I’m probably biased because of the talent involved here—I love almost every one of the actors who showed up, even the smaller bit-parts (*coughJasonLeecough*)—but this really wasn’t a terrible film. It barely made its money back in the box office and except for Smith’s incredibly low-budget films, that’s par for the course of his career. As popular as the man may seem, he elicits just as many “who?”’s as Joss Whedon does so it’s no surprise that this film wasn’t treated a bit better. Then again people seem eager to jump on him for whatever reason too, so I don’t really know—basically what I’m getting at is this film isn’t great but it’s a far, far cry from the 19% it currently resides at on Rotten Tomatoes.
Truthfully speaking what made the film so entertaining was just how simple it was. It really is just an 80s buddy cop homage; there’s so much here to take in (and watching the Maximum Movie Mode on this disc is a clear example of how many little nuances and easter eggs that Smith worked into this film) that you really don’t catch it all the first time through. Sadly it’s the type of film that unless you’re really in the mood (or high), you probably won’t go back for a repeat viewing right away. I have to say I enjoyed it a great deal more the second time around, but that may have to do with it being the extended Movie Mode cut that had Kevin Smith commentating and pointing out how awesome he is.
I also have to say that Smith surprised me with this directing ability. After Zack and Miri I wondered if he could even do a film that didn’t just consist of talking scenes; he actually broke out some truly entertaining and exciting actions sequences here and any doubts I had about him were put to rest after this. I guess the boring visual style of Zack and Miri was just intentional…that or he got some major lessons in-between that film and this one. In any case both he and all the actors involved here did a spectacular job all around and I hope this becomes the eventual cult hit that Smith’s other films have become.
Overall Cop Out is a Recommended film. It’s filled with flaws and mediocrity at times, but it’s as close to a classic buddy cop movie as we’re going to come without actually pulling one of them off of our DVD shelves.
Warner brings Cop Out to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. Inside is the usual pairing of discs (one Blu-ray, one DVD/Digital Copy combo) and a rather decent selection of extras. It’s a fair enough package, but it’s the A/V presentation that’ll keep you coming back for repeat viewings if you dig the film in the least.
The VC-1 encoded presentation of the film here is surprisingly mundane. It’s not terrible looking, but it definitely looks a bit worse than I expected. There is a lot of noise and, surprisingly, a bit of compression that shows up at times (which probably has to do with the noise); truthfully speaking it kind of looks like the first few 1080p movie trailers released in QuickTime, where the blacks were a little too bright. Ok, it may not look that bad but it definitely won’t win any prizes for clarity—it’s definitely a film that benefits from Blu-ray, but just not as much as one would hope.
Moving onto the DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix we get…well, it’s quiet, I’ll just say that. There are a few action-y sequences in the film but even then we don’t really get a lot of surround or LFE output. There is definitely some once bullets start flying, but still nothing that’s going to stress your subwoofer or blow you away with its surround subtleties. It’s no real big deal in the end though—it’s still an enjoyable mix and brings forth the film with great clarity regardless.
Maximum Comedy Mode with Kevin Smith and Seann William Scott
Focus Points (21 minutes, 1080p)
Wisdom From The shit Bandit (4 minutes, 1080p)
Now that may not sound like a lot and when it compares to other Smith films it isn’t but if you’ve ever blown off the Maximum Movie Mode in the past, then please don’t do it with this film. As I mentioned above this is probably one of the best presentations of that feature since Warner rolled it out on their bigger Blu-ray releases. Smith is perfect for this type of extra as he spills forth all kinds of information about the films production. Plus within this Movie Mode we get to see the extended cut of the film with bonus scenes (sadly this is the only way you can watch the extended cut), but with almost endless commentary by Smith and Scott, it’s a treat to watch regardless of the new sequences or not.
The “Wisdom” bits are definitely entertaining as well, but outside of the Movie Mode, that’s the only other bit of extras on here (“Focus Points” are just the behind the scenes elements from the Movie Mode). Not a bad set either way and it will either be a Recommended release for fans of Smith or a Rental for the unsure. The mundane A/V transfer keeps it from being an immediate purchase for 80s buddy cop film fans, but it’s not too bad. Plus if you pick up the Blu-ray release you get bonus DVD and digital copies to boot.
Cop Out is now available on Blu-ray/DVD and DVD.