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Dave and Rob, fresh from the Police Academy, enrage their captain because they want to do more than controlling the traffic. As penalty they are sent to Brooklyn. However they don't give up, but develop their own methods to fight against dealers, criminals and corrupt colleagues. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
An interesting yet all too rapid adaptation of the book
"The Super Cops" was surprisingly rare on video for a long time, and my first exposure of it was a grey-market copy of the 1982 MGM release on videotape. Allegedly available on laserdisc, also note there was a Super Cops comic book also released at the time. I just received what seems to be a legal release of this film on DVD, from New Star Video. It's still relatively hard to find, but the DVD features a slightly cleaner version of the print that I had previously. The colors in the film are passable, but this film would look far better if it were cleaned up. The DVD features above average cast bios/filmographies of Leibman and, but all in all is a pretty slim packaging. This is the third directoral outing of Gordon Parks, famed photojournalist/renaissance man best known for "Shaft" and "The Learning Tree." It's not his filmic acme, but one would hope that it might become available again as Parks' genius has not yet been fully celebrated.
This film lacks the vitality and edge of "Shaft", something that must have been a budget issue. Nonetheless, it's quick, good-hearted police action based on the L.H. Whittemore book of the same title. Whereas the book covered the late 60's/early 70's NYC crime scene very well, the film comes only halfway in detailing the true story depicted here. The plot is somewhat disjointed, with choppy arrest and pursuit scenes that do not build upon each other. By the end of the movie, one still has the interest in the characters, but no clue exactly how much they've endured. Still, it's a fun ride and good visually if one is familiar with the book. At best, a solid document of the time- a good cop story if nothing more.
The underrated Ron Liebman is excellent in one of the lead roles, cocky and enthusiastic. David Selby is more refined and cool, and many of the police superiors are great as gruff, cranky New York types. This story is begging for another attempt, with more detail and character development. But without the superb 70's environment and post-Serpico interest in police flicks, would it float?
A friend of mine to whom I screened the movie years ago met the great Gordon Parks a few years before Parks' death. He reports that upon mention of The Super Cops, Parks immediately responded, "I like that one!! ...but Shaft was better."
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