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Jennifer Jason Leigh,
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Winter Ave Zoli
A cop goes undercover in a South Carolina high school. With the help of a local narcotics officer, he investigates the drug ring responsible for another cop's death. Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is a perfect example of a movie the mindless-junk-food-flick variety; the efficient and cost-effective techniques to produce such films were attained to an almost zen-like point of mastery by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the masterminds behind Cannon media conglomerate, a powerhouse in the world of 80's distribution. The output of their company, in terms of both sheer numbers of films and also in terms of how broad an array of genres, subjects, and talent levels were displayed therein, was enormous. Cannon released everything from Death Wish pictures, to kiddy fare, the screwball comedies, to early 80's "rap craze" films and just about every Chuck Norris pic on along the way. The films all, however, have in common the singular trait of being just good enough to keep you watching a little bit more. When you start to get bored in one of their movies, they know they're getting lazy and throw you a bone in the form of a witty joke or a pair of bared breasts, or a gunfight, or anything. They just have the formula of perfect mediocrity down pat. That is the type of movie that this is a prime example of.
The plot is, as I have implied, not really very important in the grand scheme of things here. David Neidorf plays Sheffield, a tough, hot-shot (read egomaniac) Baltimore city cop whose best bro since childhood, also a cop, is murdered during a stakeout gone awry while deep undercover in a county high school drug investigation. Sheffield is revealed to be the cause of his friend having to go undercover in the first place, in a rather vague and unintelligible attempt at a backstory, and for the sake of this film's plot, is of course sent post haste to replace his dead friend and colleague, which is to say: undercover in the local high school. He meets the typical band of supporting players, who play their parts to predestined conclusions, as everything must be as it is in the world of Cannon films. There is the slightly minstrel-esquire black baseball team friend, the snotty rich prick kid, and the corrupt cop baddie. Jennifer Jason Leigh, a rather renowned and serious thespian, was apparently not above trolling the likes of this film at the time, but she is totally wasted here in a nothing role as the female cop, undercover partner in crime Tanille Leroux. Her character had to be there, however, in order to make the Golan/Globus formula take effect.
Watching this movie is almost akin to watching a chemistry experiment unfold. Every element is carefully selected and added in to balance out to zero the sum total of impact on you. It is neither bad nor good, it is in the middle, perfectly neutral, which is why I give it 5/10 stars.
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