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In this prequel movie Jesse Stone: Night Passage we learn how Jesse
Stone became the new police chief of Paradise, Massachusetts. Tom
Selleck has not yet begun to deal with his alcohol problem and in fact
his police instincts are aroused when the town council actually hires
him when he shows up with booze on his breath.
The first two cases that Selleck deals with are linked. He goes to a domestic dispute where Stephen Baldwin is not honoring a restraining order against his estranged wife. Selleck nails him below decks to get his attention and make a point. Then Mike Starr the former police chief of Paradise is found dead off a cliff at the ocean shore in his car. It takes a while to determine, but these cases are inextricably linked.
Tom Selleck shows a considerable range and maturity in age and craft as he plays Jesse Stone. This is not a perfect and he's a most serious individual, light years away from flip detective Thomas Magnum.
The rest of the characters from the town including the other three members of the police force, Viola Davis, Kohl Sudduth, and Vito Rezza are all introduced. As is town attorney Polly Shannon who begins a long term relationship with Selleck.
Fans of Robert B. Parker novels and of Tom Selleck should be very pleased with this film.
Tom Selleck is 66 now, and close to that during this series. I like
him, but he is too old for this character. At most, it should have been
a guy maybe 50 or 55. Although granted, I don't know how old the
character is in the book series.
They never tell us why he is so depressed, and why he started drinking. I like a little mystery, but at some point, you have to let us know what the hell is going on, or we can't empathize with the character. O.K., L.A. cops drink. But they can still have a personality.
If I met a guy who gave one word answers, and answered questions with another question, I would want to punch him. Either Selleck is overdoing this stoicism, or the Director is.
As far as girls 30 and 40 years younger, throwing themselves at him, I suppose it's possible. He's tall, rugged, and mysterious, but the guy is a total loser. Rather than have people constantly ask if his lady friends are too young for him, wny not just make the character a little younger?
Having said all that, I do like the atmosphere, the character development of other characters, some of the dialogue, and the plot line. It just could have been so much better, with more background on the main character, and a younger actor, for believability.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
While this was a pretty good movie, as a fan of Parkers series ( Jesse Stone, Spencer, Sunny Randall) I was a little disappointed the movie didn't have the same plot as the book. Those who've read it know what I'm talking about; those who haven't , get ready for a spoiler. In the movie Steven Baldwin was an abusive husband who was mob connected, and that's about it. The book is quite different. Jesse Stone was hired as police chief of Paradise, Ma. by the town council because they needed a puppet they could pull ( the previous chief got nervous and was sent packing). The reason is the town elders ( including some cops) are a bunch of white supremacists who are planning a revolution. The previous chief in fact is killed in the Midwest. The town elders know about Jesse and his drinking problem; that's why they hired him but he turns around and straightens himself up (somewhat) surprising them. He disrupts their plot. Part of the story also includes a weightlifting muscle head who's a real thug. Jesse runs into him early on and deals with him throughout the book. This thug along with a town elder even goes to Boston to buy weapons for the revolution from mafioso Gino Fish ( from the Spenser series) but gets ripped off. Eventually he kills a woman (or 2) in Paradise which Jesse solves, thus turning him into a cooperative witness. There were some scenes straight from the book ( especially the opening scene on Santa Monica Beach where Jesse is thinking about his future and his past when the cops question him) but the major plot change made me less than thrilled. Still, the acting helped bring this movie up.
I watched this movie last night, a year after it originally came out. I believe it was on CBS. I had no idea that Selleck was involved in another TV series. Well, at least a TV series of movies. I have often wondered why it has taken him so long to get back into television. Having not read any of Parkers's books, I cannot comment on the plots in any of these Jesse Stone movies. I would, however, like to suggest that this series may want to follow a storyline similar to the old Route 66 with George Maharis and Martin Milner, with Stone as a retired drifter cop getting himself involved in situations as he travels the country and then assisting law enforcement in a behind-the-shadows way. When one crime is solved he moves on to another but never settling down.
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