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An FBI Agent (Michael Rooker) and a female cop (Diane DiLascio) join forces to stop renegade cops who are offing the bad guys. Robert Patrick is the leader of the renegades and Louis Mandylor is a reluctant young cop that is brought into the hit team. Written by
John Sacksteder <email@example.com>
Very interesting film and showing how much you can accomplish on a limited budget. Best points? The vigilante sniper shooting the FBI sniper through his telescopic sight, as later featured on Mythbusters. The smooth-as-silk raids carried out by the vigilantes and of course the final shootout between the two police firearms teams (interesting to compare this to Deadliest Warrior's GSG9 vs LAPD SWAT). As has been commented on by others the plot never plays out as you might expect it to. You think that Cooper and Simms will end up together but instead she's killed in the City Hall shootout and he's forced to unceremoniously abandon her body on the floor and flee. After Cooper and Roth talk in front of the civil war memorial ("Brother against brother, it's no good that way") you expect Roth to come good and betray Jake to Cooper but instead his loyalties remain with the vigilantes. I would like Roth to have asked Cooper in return what the civil war veterans would have made of the modern justice system, was this the country they fought for? One of the best scenes is where there's just Jake and Roth left and Roth considers surrendering. "You made your choice" Jake tells him and Roth realises he's right and goes out in a blaze of glory. The sniper scene at the golf course is a brilliant and the extreme range aside highly realistic. Bad points. The vigilantes seem to have found a way to silence a shotgun which is technically impossible. The surveillance photos show that the FBI have been watching Jake for a long time, how did they get onto him and how did they miss him carrying out the mansion raid? Although you can't really feel sorry for the gangsters, arms dealers and child pornographers the vigilantes kill you have to wonder exactly why the adult porn actors at the mansion deserved to die? The film also blatantly teases us with loads of gratuitous female nudity both during the porn shoot and the strip club shootout (amazing how many cop films/TV series eventually end up there?). It's impossible to blow up a car by shooting it in the fuel tank as Mythbusters proved. The effective range of of an M14 is officially 875 yards so the idea that it could hit three man sized targets at 2000 yards takes some swallowing. Even if you're the best shots in the world you couldn't fire over 400 rounds during the mansion raid and not miss once.
One important scene that's in the DVD but not the TV version is where Jake during his patrol duties arrests a man for beating a woman with baseball bat. Yet the rules say he's not allowed to give her first aid in case the Police Department get sued, enraging him. It's a key scene, portraying Jake as a guy who actually does care about people and believes in what he's doing for the greater good rather than just some fascist out to kill those he dislikes. When the vigilantes make their final Butch and Sundance style charge into the waiting guns of the regular police/FBI you get the impression that this is actually mass suicide.
Another good factor is that you're never quite sure whose right and whose wrong. Jake genuinely tries to make Cooper understand why he's doing what he's doing and how it's justified "It's what the people want". In the end Cooper and his FBI team break the rules themselves to bring the vigilantes down. A dying Jake tells Cooper that he'll become just like him and Cooper replies he's right and executes him in cold blood. Do we want a police force that is lethally effective as Jake and his gang or one that let's the criminals go free in order to preserve the greater freedom of the individual? As the quote from Plato states at the beginning 'The rule of law is preferable to that of any one man'. Much as the woeful LA Takedown was transformed into the superlative Heat, you really get the idea that a big budget Hollywood remake of this film would be terrific! 8/10
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