Dog Watch (1997 Video)
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But! If you love to see good actors rise above this kind of material and make something of it, then you will LOVE this movie! Sam Elliott is nothing short of brilliant in taking the one-note character of Detective Falon come alive with depth and pathos. Those of you who have never seen Elliott emote that much beyond his usual scowling stoic stances will be delighted at the range of emotion he depicts in this film. And also, in his early fifties in this film, he looks fantastic! His bare chest scene gives hope to middle aged men everywhere! Esai Morales does a wonderful job elevating his role as Det. Falon's eager beaver new police partner. He could have easily played it as a Robin to Elliott's Batman, but instead he breathed a genuineness and passion into this role. He makes it work despite some of the lame lines he is given to say.
Paul Sorvino is fun to watch! He plays the eccentric police captain. He seems to know he is slumming in this movie and is having a ball doing it. He makes it fun for us too.
This movie is very by-the-numbers in plot but makes up for it with great performances! Sam Elliott fans should definitely get this one as it is suck a kick to see him spread his wings and do so much more than he usually is allowed to do!
Getting the lowdown that a group of policemen under his command are dealing drugs by knocking off drug dealers of their cocaine and heroin and then selling it back to them Captain Delgoti, Paul Sorvino, sets up a number of sting operations in his precinct with one of the cops targeted being Det. Levinson. Levinson's partner Det. Falon who's as honest as the day is long has no idea of Levinson's corruption. When Det. Falon find's his partner Det. Levinson stabbed to death outside a bar, were they were at drinking the night away, he goes nuts and attacks and beats to death the man on the scene Winch. Winch who was not responsible for Levinson's murder was in fact there to get him to turn and gives up the names of his fellow drug-dealing corrupt cops.
With the help of striper and girlfriend Sally, Mimi Craven, Falon has Winch's body put in a car and drives down to the docks dumping it in San Francisco Bay feeling that the "cop killer" got just what he deserved. What Falon doesn't know is that the two cops later put on the case of Leinson's murder Holloway & Orlanski, Dan Lauria & Richard Gilliland, were the one's who murdered him.
It's not until much later that Falon realizes that his partner was dirty when he was assigned together with rookie detective Michael Murrow, Esai Morales, on the Winch case and tries to cover-up his involvement in Winch's death. Falon's new partner senses that he's anything but interested in finding Winch's killer and slowly puts two and two together.
The two dirty cops, Holloway & Orlaski, trying to cover up their role in both Levinson murder, whom they killed fearing that he's about to turn evidence on them, as well as their drug dealings. The two crooked cops set up ex-con Jerome Johnson, Perry Moore, by breaking into his apartment and planting drugs there and then, to make it look like a drug hit, brutally murdering him and his wife! This happens right in front of the couples two year old son in one of the most shocking and sickening murders scenes ever put in a movie.
Not satisfied with killing Levinson and Johnson, together with his wife, Holloway and Orlanski get to Falon's girlfriend Sally, who was a junkie and being supplied with her drugs by the late Det. Levinson. The two corrupt cops stick a needle in Sally's arm forcing her to overdose not realizing, by sticking the needle in her left arm, that she's left-handed! Which would make it physically impossible and which also alerts Falon, who finds her body, that Sally was in fact murdered and didn't kill herself voluntary or by accident.
Falon begins to come to his senses when he's later approached at his old watering hole by Holloway and Orlanski and asked to join them in their drug dealing operation. Falon angrily refuses but now he knows that like his partner the late Sam Levinson that he knows too much and is now a marked man.
Meanwhile Det. Murrow, now a lot smarter and wiser, by getting to know what his partner Falon is all about confronts Falon about Winch's death only to get knocked out and cuffed to a sink at the bar that Falon was at. With Falon now smashed from his drinking, but with a full head of steam, goes outside to meet Holloway and Orlanski knowing that no matter what happens he'll end up on the losing end.
Tough and uncompromising movie about police corruption with Sam Elliott as the old veteran who thinks he's seen and knows everything about crime and police work but has a lot to learn. Still he overlooks his partners Det. Levinson, whom he worked with for 20 years, secret life as a drug dealer that not only leads to him murdering an innocent man but ending up being killed himself.
The best scene comes when Elliott has a tense, strained dinner with Morales and his wife, the excellent Jessica Steen, who matches Elliott line for line, expression for expression. The worst scene comes when Elliott later visits Steen's residence and offers her an apology of sorts. Even Elliott can't make us buy this out-of-character moment.
Sam Elliott seems to have a tendency toward physical exhibitionism. (Remember his gratuitous nude scene in "The Legacy?") Here we see him bare-chested in bed when he answers a late-night phone call. There's no need for "beefcake" in this scene but it gives Elliott yet another chance to show off his lean, hairy torso -- never touched by a razor -- and even at age 51 this torso still looks mighty good.
Elliott also deserves notice for the scene in which he delivers a kick to a man's crotch. (You can almost hear the testicles squish.) His aim is perfect and his kicking style would do a Rockette proud.
My Grade: D+
Eye Candy: Various strippers (mostly in the background)
I would therefore be very careful in purchasing any DVD of the film without checking for the problem.
I would also follow the recommended censors classifications particularly in relation to language and drug usage.
This film could become a silent classic cop movie and with the above cautionary notes I can recommend it to prospective viewers
1) The bleed-through on Charlie Falon's (Sam Elliott) bandage was shown to be coming from the back of his hand while it was his knuckles that were bleeding.
2) Would a detective dispose of his murder victim from a very well-lighted area? This seemed very silly to me.
I am not unusually picky about a movie but, in my humble opinion, this one is definitely NOT recommended by me.