This film is about the adventures of a 1940's special anti-gangster police squad in Los Angeles, the infamous 'Hat Squad.' The four members of this squad are big, tough, no-nonsense cops who don't hesitate to break the law, if it suits their purposes. When a local woman is murdered, their investigation turns up the fact that she had been romantically linked to several prominent men and had secret films taken of her liaisons. Since one of those men is the powerful U.S. Army General at the head of the then-new Atomic Energy Commission and another is the (married) leader of the Hat Squad, complications ensue. The FBI even gets involved in an attempted cover-up.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
When Hoover and his men are caught trespassing by Colonel Fitzgerald and the MP's, there is an offstage ADR line heard as one of the men speak on the radio, "Sierra, Tango, Zero, One." "Sierra, Tango" is the phonetic alphabet representing the letters "S" and "T". However, this is the current phonetic alphabet which became effective in 1957. The ADR line should have read, "Sugar, Tare, Zero, One" to be authentic to the period. See more »
If you're paying attention, it's not a half-bad movie.
First of all, let's get this straight - the story takes place in 1953, not the '40's. Now - you've got these four guys riding around in a convertible in bad L.A. There's a comic aspect to this little ritual, kind of Abbott and Costello times 2, but it's hard to know who's the straight man.
The plot is not a new one, but the violence has (at least) the merit of being real person-to-person violence (as differentiated from being acted in front of a blue screen and digitally augmented). There are too many "name" actors here, and (I'll grant) not much character development, but it's a chance to watch Nick Nolte and Bruce Dern do their signature performances - Nick, impassive and looming large, has played this role many times before, and always to good effect. He was better doing it in "Q&A", but that was TOO real, and a much too scary. Bruce Dern's overacting is almost reassuring and one of the few animated performances in the picture.
Melanie is subdued, being the window dressing, and they have her wearing shoulder pads, which wasn't a fifties thing, but she gives a good performance without any of the lip-licking she usually resorts to. The photography is good, the desert ominous, and watching evil Treat Williams get thrown out of the plane most entertaining.
It's not Chekov, it's not anything wonderful at all, but it reeks of ambience. I'd recommend it as an evening's entertanment. Much better, certainly, than the stuff that passes as entertainment on the big screen most of the time.
Sure wish they'd given Michael Madsen more screen time - what if they'd pushed Chaz Palmintieri out of the plane early on and beefed Mike's role? Whadya say?
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