Reviewed by: Brian Nigro
“Cop Land” will leave many viewers (like myself) still scratching their heads over what to think. It lies in the land of mediocrity—it’s not a great movie, but it’s not terrible, either. Much hype surrounds Sylvester Stallone’s bid to be a “serious” actor. Unfortunately, there are some movies that just don’t work with marquee actors. The yearly Sundance Film Festival in Utah has been affected by Hollywood, and the continued mainstreaming and diluting of Miramax is evidence of it.
“Cop Land” is the story of a small town sheriff named Freddy (Stallone), who tries to keep the peace in the face of corruption. This particular New Jersey town, run by a crooked cop named Donlan (Harvey Keitel) with help from the mob, is supposedly a picket-fence suburbia for the NYPD Blue. Some of the corruption surfaces when Donlan’s nephew, Babitch (Michael Rapaport), is involved in questionable circumstances.
This is director James Mangold’s number two try, after the obscure little-known film “Heavy”. In accordance with the laws of the “Sophomore Slump,” all the symptoms are there:
“Cop Land” is rated “R” for constant swearing and profanity, and some surprisingly violent (and bloody) shoot-em-ups towards the end. It is a good movie about morality and the integrity of law enforcement, but it could have been ever so much better.
Year of Release—1997