Harbour Beat (1990) Poster

(1990)

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5/10
you dirty Water Rats....
ptb-814 February 2005
Unreleased in cinemas, HARBOUR BEAT was a good idea with an interesting cast. However, as an idea, it ended up more successfully on television in a TV cops in speedboats show called WATER RATS. Scot actor John Hannah went onto greater heights in FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL and THE MUMMY. Australian lead Steve Vidler worked again with the same director (Elfick) in the excellent rural family drama NO WORRIES and later directed the dramatic rape murder pic BLACKROCK. HARBOUR BEAT filmed on Sydney Harbour and around Bondi Beach probably has more interest for International viewers; in Oz it plays more like a telemovie and turned out to be basically that: the in adverted pilot for what turned out to be a network series about exactly the same thing. It is well made and looks good...all sunny and sparkling with groovy cars and handsome lead actors. Even the gorgeous Peta Toppano makes one of her rare screen appearances.
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Average mismatched cop fare but it's OK for one watch and Hannah rises above the material
bob the moo21 October 2002
Neil McBride is a Scottish cop who steps on one too many toes when he arrests a bent city councillor. He is told he will be disgraced or can be transferred to Australia. McBride is partnered with Lance Cooper whose partner has recently retired. However Cooper is a bit of a loose cannon as well and the two men don't help each other to stick to procedure. They match up on a drugs investigation and McBride begins to look into the owners of a suspect house. However someone tries to kill Lance and they realise they're on the right track with the property developer De Santos.

If it looks like a standard `mismatched' cop movie, smells like a standard `mismatched' cop movie and plays like a standard `mismatched' cop movie then it probably is a standard mismatched cop movie. This fits all those categories and for a very good reason - that's exactly what it is. I only watched this because it had a young John Hannah in it and it caught my eye. The gimmick of Scottish cop down under isn't well used and it is pretty average fare for the most part.

The plot isn't too much cop but is quite enjoyable. It has some nice touches and is actually quite dramatic but it is quite predictable really. The twists are good but not stuff you won't have seen else where done just as well or better.

The cast actually help make it watchable. All the Australian accents make it feel like a soap opera and Vidler isn't very good. Happily John Hannah rises above the material and gives a strong performance despite a character who is a tough nut cliché. He is watchable in almost every scene.

Overall there is a reason why not many people will have seen this film - because it's average at best. It passes the time but the plot is hokey and doesn't make total sense when you think about it. However Hannah is worth watching and outshines all those bad Australian actors who will probably all end up doing a soap at some point of their careers!
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