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A Los Angeles businesswoman, known only by her street name of Princess, turns to prostitution to support herself and her young daughter when she's forced by Detective Tom Walsh and his vice squad to help them arrest a brutal pimp named Ramrod for the murder of a prostitute named Ginger. But when Ramrod learns that he was set up, he escapes from police custody and begins a long night of tracking down Princess while Walsh and his vice squad are always one step behind him. Written by
One of the grittiest, toughest, police stories ever made.
In theory, "Vice Squad" is nothing more than good guy versus bad guy. However, it is done with such raw energy and flawless execution it remains one of the most intelligent and dramatic police films of the past two decades.
The story is about a hooker with a heart of gold named "Princess," who ends up on the run from her pimp named "Ramrod," (played brilliantly by the underrated Wings Hauser). After she agrees to bait him for the cops after he violently murders a fellow prostitute, he escapes police custedy and is hell-bent on one thing: finding Princess, torturing her, and killing her. It's that simple. A cop named "Walsh" (also played wonderfully by Gary Swanson) has the responsibility of finding either her or him, before Ramrod succeeds in his mission.
The film takes place in one night throughout the streets of Hollywood, and never lets up for a second. The plot is thick with suspense, the characters are three dimensionally layered, and the action is non stop. It's influence can be seen in many of todays films such as "Training Day," and even "Seven" just to name a few. However, its greatest testament may be from a better known movie tough guy named "Dirty Harry." At one point, when Walsh catches up with Ramrod he sticks his gun in his mouth and mutters "Make a move, and make my day!" Sound familiar? It should, because the famous line was uttered some five years later, even though the phrase was coined here, and in much better fashion I might add.
To sum it up, "Vice Squad" is a hard hitting, no nonsense, throw back to when quality films could be made on shoe-string budgets, and without millions in special effects. It walks the walk, and talks the talk without making excuses for its realistic subject matter. Unfortunately, the film is hard to find, so if you get the opportunity to see it, do not pass it up. For it will no doubt become one of your favorite "Vices," I garantee it.
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