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To be sure, Homicide (the series) deserved a TV-movie after it's
unsatisfying series finale, which was admittedly rushed (NBC cancelled the
series only a few weeks prior to the end of the 1999 season). Indeed,
viewers were left hanging as many storylines were left unanswered, and
"Homicide: The Movie" does work as a coda for the series. However, it
seems like a series finale elongated to fill 90 minutes.
The premise is extremely promising (for those who don't know): Lt. Giardello is the front-running Baltimore mayoral candidate, whose primary issue is the decriminalization of drugs. During a campaign stop, he is shot (but not killed) by an unknown assailant. This event brings every regular character (and I mean everyone) back to investigate the crime and visit Giardello in the hospital. [This brilliant premise is also frustrating to me as a long-time fan. If NBC had given the show one more full season (and let the producers know it would be the last) there could have been some intriguing episodes leading to the campaign.]
As a fan it's satisfying in sense to see all the regular characters again, but it's also a tremendous burden on the film. Several scenes do nothing to enhance the story: Shepherd and Ballard repeatedly watch videotape of the shooting in an an attempt to find a lead; Mike Giardello and Kellerman roust everyone who might have a grudge; Med. examiners discuss medical advancements at Gee's bedside. These and a few other scenes only serve to give some members of the bloated cast a reason to make an appearance. What probably would have worked brilliantly as a 40-minute series finale just doesn't cut it as a full-length film.
Fortunately, this substantial shortcoming is largely redeemed by the film's conclusion, which is set-up perfectly by the writers. The final twist is a complete and devastating surprise that's entirely believable and satisfying in the spirit of the original series. Even if "Homicide: The Movie" is more than a bit diluted, it works as an appropriately bitter-sweet coda for one of the best shows in the history of television.
I became a fan of the TV series `Homicide: Life on the Street' late in the
show's run, but became a fan very quickly. It was a cop show unlike any
other: visually different in its use of hand-held cameras, taking the viewer
everywhere, with its multiethnic and mutiracial cast and their varying and
fascinating personalities, and that it covered all of the good and bad of a
police department, including the corruption and personality clashes that
bubble up to the surface.
Homicide: The Movie, the reunion follow-up to the series, is as good as a made-for-television film can be. After Lt. Giardello (Yaphet Kotto), now a candidate for mayor of Baltimore, is shot, the series' cast members are back to help find the killer. In addition, the cast members who left the force and those who died, also manage to have their place in the film. The intensity and fire that marked the series return, and the script bristles with the same fire that marked the series. All in all, a terrific TV movie.
I have always been a huge fan of "Homicide: Life On The Street" so when I
heard there was a reunion movie coming up, I couldn't wait.
Let me just say, I was not disappointed at all. It was one of the most powerful 2 hours of television I've ever seen. It was great to see everyone back again, but the biggest pleasure of all was to have Andre Braugher back, because the relationship between Pembleton and Bayliss was always the strongest part of an all-together great show.
"Homicide: The Movie" is a TV flick which continues the defunct TV series and, given its less than sterling reviews, probably concludes it as well. The film, which tells of the investigation of a shooting of a Baltimore mayoral candidate who also heads the homicide squad (Kotto), pulls together most of the cast of the successful 1993-1999 TV series with reprises from many including cameos from the dead characters. "Homicide: The Movie" requires such a familiarity with the TV series for a complete understanding of the characters' background and history that familiarity with the series is almost a prerequisite for the film. Furthermore, as a stand alone piece, the film just isn't that good. "Homicide:The Movie" will play best as a farewell to loyal viewers of "Homicide:Life in the Streets". (B-)
In all truth, this really isn't a "movie" so much as an extended final episode; by this I mean that, had you NOT followed the TV series (Homicide: Life On The Street) I suspect that you would have a hard time following this made-for-tv movie. Having said that, "Homicide: The Movie" is still a great watch. I think it says a lot about a television production that EVERY single cast member would return, many after years of absence, to once again portray their characters and bring closure to an incredible program. The movie brings out that sense of "family", not only amongst the characters, but amongst the actors, as well. It's all very bitter-sweet knowing that this will be the LAST time we will see them all together again under the title of HOMICIDE. Story-wise, I found this film somewhat lacking. Giardello's mayoral candidacy seems particularly contrived, and I felt his shooting could've been dealt with within the parameters of his regular position, as Leiutenant. Also, Det. Bayliss's extreme plot twist, which was left hanging at series end, is finally resolved, but I, for one, NEVER felt that it needed to be; I enjoyed being left with a mystery (let us recall that the very first episode's first case also went unsolved for the entire series run!). As a DEVOTED fan of the TV series I can love this movie, and the fact that it even got made after H:LOTS had been canceled, but I would not recommend it to anyone who hasn't had the slightest exposure to the series. Now, if they'd just release it on DVD...
Out on the campaign trail for Mayor, Giardello gets shot twice and taken to
hospital. His shooting could be enemies from his previous post or could be
drug related as he pledged to legalise drugs to take it off the streets.
The shooting brings the homicide detectives out in force both present and
past to try and piece together the clues and find out who it was and
Thanks to the UK's Channel 4's policy of not knowing a good thing when they've bought the rights to it, I have not seen the last series of H:LOTS, simply because they decided that it wasn't getting enough viewers and dropped it. So I don't know how directly this follows on from the TV series in terms of time but I know that it does tie in quite well and close some open questions. The plot is quite simple and lacks the class of the tv series but still works well for what it has to do. Some of the plot is a jump too far but it still works on the whole. The side issues are as interesting as the main plot and the close of the film is actually a lot more moving than I expected it to be.
The main problem the film has is that `every detective is back'. The result of this is that fans get to see characters they haven't seen for years, but the downside is that they are mostly just clutter wheeled in to say a few lines and then disappear. The film is at it's strongest when it focuses on good subplots with the strongest characters hence it is at it's best when Pembleton and Bayliss are the focus. It is still good to see all the faces but at times you wonder why they bothered and why they didn't sacrifice some characters to make for a tighter narrative.
The cast all do well, with Braugher and Secor standing out due to the amount of time and material the film allows them to have. The cameos (although a lot of the cast could be called cameos) are mixed. Priestley and Begley Jnr are a bit of a waste of space but Oz's Walker gives a delicate performance and shows his skill in this media yet again.
Overall I had no great hopes for this film as it is basically a TVM, but I did enjoy it more than I thought. The revolving door of old characters does drag a little at times but the film works and the focus on a group of main characters (Pembleton and Bayliss in particular) works to it's strength and produces a film that, while not comparable to the series in terms of quality, will satisfy many of it's fans.
I was a big fan of Homicide: Life on the Street which remains one of
the television shows I've most enjoyed watching. The last two seasons
do colour my impression somewhat but I usually like to remember the
good times of the first five seasons.
Homicide: The Movie is definitely in the mold of the last two seasons in that it's good but the magic is missing, the movie is a pretty good effort all the same though. Pembleton is back to his old self and old favourites Brody and Detective Howard are back, although their input is minimal. I liked spotting actors from the HBO show "Oz" (not coincidentally this movie was co-written by Oz creator Tom Fontana).
Homicide: The Movie is worth watching but it's not great, eg. I didn't bother burning a copy of the rental DVD, I'd rather hold out for a DVD boxset which I'll probably have to import from overseas. The story is fairly interesting but still isn't up to the standard of the early days of the show, the presentation is very "TV movie" but we can hardly knock that given its source material. The writers went for Bayliss/Pembleton as the main dynamic which is reassuring, but again the magic is never quite recaptured.
Homcide: The Movie ends up being a fitting end to the unfortunately downward trend of the TV series. It was good to see all the characters back but it ends up being yet another installment of Homicide that doesn't live up to the show's brilliant first five seasons. It was a good effort though.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Homicide: Life on the Street was an interesting series. For five
seasons, I would say it was an *excellent* series, until executive
meddling brought it down in its last two years (younger, more
attractive cops! more sensational cases!). This TV movie served to wrap
up the show.
The main problem is how the "let's bring everyone back for The Most Important Case" premise - all detectives return to investigate the shooting of Giardello (Yaphet Kotto) - clashes with the series' main tone. Homicide was always at its best in quieter, minimalistic moments.
Also, like in a class reunion, suddenly having so many old acquaintances around means you end up ignoring most of them. Here the focus is on the couple with the most complex psychological interplay, the duo Pembleton (Andre Braugher) / Bayliss (Kyle Secor). Their powerful last confrontation is the movie's highlight, in spite of it being distractingly over-directed. This character moment really called for a subtler approach.
The second best scene is a comedic one, a montage of Kellerman (Reed Diamond) nonchalantly eating various foods as his partner uselessly pursues an aggressive line of investigation.
Overall, what can be done with his sort of things is done fairly well, although the best conclusion for Homicide would have been ending the series a few years earlier.
Homicide: The Movie proved to be a good wrap-up to a well-written, well-directed, and well-acted series. Loose ends were tied up that weren't properly addressed at the end of the final season. The entire series, and especially the movie, provided a life-like look at life (and death) in Baltimore, a culturally unique city with an extremely high murder rate. My attraction to the series began long before I moved to Baltimore, but once I experienced life here for myself, I realized how realistic it was. And the movie certainly retained that spirit. I will certainly miss new original episodes of the series, but am very grateful to NBC and the producers and cast for giving us one last glimpse at the dark side of Charm City.
Homicide:The Movie reunites the principal leads of the original show eight years after the events of the last episode occurred. The story revolves around former Homicide Captain Al "G" Giardello, who is running for mayor, and who is shot at a political rally. The next two hours involves the search for the assailant and it has some interesting moments, such as a brilliant scene between Bayliss and Pembleton, along with great acting and directing. The only real flaw here is the script, which brings back all these characters, but hardly gives most of them anything to do. The show's more interesting characters, such as Munch and Lewis, are given minimal screen time, while the supporting characters are given even less. However, if you enjoyed this show when it aired, you might want to take a look at Homicide:The Movie.
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