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Alan J. Pakula
When call-girl Della gets caught in the middle of a drug bust at a hotel where she was meeting a trick, she is held hostage by a robber that busted in on the drug agents and the drug dealers. She gets rescued by vice cop Church who is accused of staging the aborted bust. Ex-ballplayer turned drug dealer Roger is in tight with corrupt vice cops and their superiors And the fireworks start popping. Written by
Richard Jones <email@example.com>
"You like this all the time, because you're getting on my nerves."
Detective Frank Church resigns from his job when a drug bust goes wrong with the blame being put on him, as he survived along with prostitute Della Roberts who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Della saw the face of killer and now finds herself a target. So she seeks help from the out-of-work Church. Burt Reynolds seems to have his fair share of nothing features and the late 80s crime-thriller "Rent-a-Cop" is hard not to categorise in that bracket, but still it can be amusing and at the same time overbearing. Thanks to the appearance of Liza Minnelli as a flamboyantly overactive hooker who just won't quit talking. She overpowers many scenes. Not helping the case is that the off-balance script is asinine. I just wished it kept on the straight and narrow, than throwing in some light-hearted touches and trite comedy elements. It can be violent pulp and the main killer (a terrifically threatening James Remar) is rather a cold-hearted maniac who has a noticeable costume get-up and deadly arsenal, although he does like to dance (swaying back-and-forth in front of a mirror) and a good dancer he is too. With a nickname Dancer, he must be. Burt Reynolds is pretty much on cruise-control and the chemistry with Minnelli just doesn't seem to click. Someone has already mentioned it, but its true that I couldn't get Reynolds 1981 cop-thriller "Sharky's Machine" out of my mind when watching this. Both films have similar plot threads and are staged in the windy city Chicago, but "Rent-a-Cop" felt like a self-parody of it. Also making appearances are Richard Masur, Bernie Casey and a stern John P. Ryan. Director Jerry London (who mainly does TV) surprisingly gives the film a certain crisp slickness, creating moments of suspense (like the glorified cat and mouse shootout climax that ends with someone losing their head) and uses the wintry urban Chicago backdrop to good affect. Jerry Goldsmith contributes the music score. Routine, clingy star vehicle.
"Read my lips. Don't screw around."
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