Gunfight at the LA Corral
There are two ways to get to the bottoms of things in the City of Angels.There’s the milquetoast methods of Miranda, which yield nothing but mockery from murdering crack heads. Then there’s the Rodney King style of persuasion, which gets results provided no one packs a camcorder.Street tough LAPD Sgt. Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) prefers the latter approach of investigation. It’s a form of bloody performance art Perry picked up from his old man, another LAPD gunslinger, who sent 11 evildoers to the county morgue for spitting on the sidewalk."My dad preyed on the predators," Perry says as he fondly recalls the way dear old dad handled his business.Perry is a clip off the old Glock. He’s a racist cop with a crumbling marriage, a wimpy son, and a habit of shooting first and questioning the corpse later.Perry understands that rules, like heads, are made to be broken.Of course, no one ever said police work was for liberals. The ugly business of cops and robbers comes through in "Dark Blue," a fairly run-of-the-mill renegade cop drama set amid the mounting mayhem of the Los Angeles Riots."This city was built with bullets," Perry tells his gutless partner, a preening pretty boy, who lacks the stones to plant evidence, beat down a suspect or do a man’s job.While the rookie cowers like a Frenchman caught inside a German bakery after closing time, Perry uses fists of fury to extract information from suspects.In one of the better scenes, Perry manhandles a street punk, then douses the scumbag’s eyes with pepper spray until the con sings like a blind canary.Something tells me Pakistani interrogators and their CIA overlords will use more persuasive methods (can you say cattle prod to the testicles?) on the recently captured terrorist kingpin Khalid Mohammed.If that is good enough for foreign devils, why not use the same methods on common crooks, tax cheats or jaywalkers?Russell does a fine job playing a boozed up lawman that treats the Bill of Rights like toilet paper. Perry knows he is above the law and while his style might offend obnoxious civil libertarian, one has to admit that this cop always gets his man – even if it’s the wrong man.Perry is basically the anti-Jack Webb of LAPD. He is just as determined to protect and serve as Joe Friday, plus he throws a better punch.Perry’s street level style of police work sits well with his boss, Jack Van Meter, head of an elite special investigations unit that answers to no one.These cowboys are renegades with a cause. They clean up the streets by any means necessary. If that requires planting a gun on a newly slain criminal, so be it.Van Meter essentially runs his squad like a personal posse. His men spy on city leaders and use the dirt to enhance their strength. Naturally, Van Meter abuses his power, which leads to a final conflict with his top enforcer. Perry ultimately discovers the error of his ways at the very moment a white jury commits a larger error and acquits four LAPD officers for attacking Rodney King.In the end, it is hard to tell who is more enraged, Perry or the minority masses who burn LA as overdue payback to King and every other sap set up by the boys in blue.Until next time, Mr. Hernandez has left the theater to extract confessions from strangers.Nickey Hernandez is a former private investigator who knows that rubber hoses leave no bruises.
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