Marvel and Sony surprised many when they tapped little known director Jon Watts to helm the latest Spider-man reboot. While we wait to see what Watts does with this opportunity, his sophomore effort Cop Car, is worth a look. A stripped down neo-noir clearly influenced by the Coen brothers, Cop Car has some weaknesses but is aided greatly by a memorable performance from Kevin Bacon.
Somewhere in rural Colorado, a pair of 10-year-old boys (James Freedson-Jackson, Hays Wellford) are enjoying the freedom of having run away from home and by practicing vulgarities as they move along. It’s soon clear that one kid is a little more rebellious than the other; despite the lack of parents, one refuses to say the dirtiest of the dirtiest words. The two come upon an abandoned cop car in the middle of the woods. After getting up the courage to investigate it, the boys discover the driver side door is open and keys are in the car. The boys have played too many video games to not want to take the car for a joyride. Fun ensues, as they speed through the rolling hills, sirens blaring.
Unbeknownst to the boys, the car belongs to a Sheriff Kretzer (Bacon), who’s drug addled and caught up in some kind of criminal activity (the details of which are limited). As it happens, he is off burying a body at roughly the same time the boys discover another body in the truck of his car. Watts and co-writer Christopher D. Ford smartly introduce Kretzer with minimal dialogue; his actions let us know he’s none too bright and wound pretty tight. The wiry broom-mustachioed Sherriff will do whatever it takes to get his car and its cargo back.
Unlike most neo-noirs that focus on the protagonist, Cop Car centers on the two innocent kids. While it’s nice to see a change in the approach, for two ten year-olds in the 21st century these boys often seem painfully naïve. The child actors do a good job with the material they’re given, but after a while you might find yourself asking, “Did they really do that?”
While Kevin Bacon’s performance is just crazy enough to be enjoyable, his character never develops into someone to truly fear. No matter what happens, he has a bumbling quality. As a result the tension is never quite as high as it could have been and Jon Watts makes some scenes longer than they have to be, despite the fact that the film is only 88 minutes long. More attention to character development could have made Cop Car a very memorable film, rather than one worth a rental on a rainy Saturday night.
Presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Universal’s 1080p transfer looks pretty good. The Colorado countryside looks gorgeous and colors pop. Details are discernible throughout and textures are well represented. Overall, there are no problems to report here.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless surround is excellent. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout. During action scenes sounds such as gunshots and sirens are fully immersive. There are no drop-outs or other audio issues to report.
English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Their First and Last Ride: The Making of Cop Car (HD, 2:58) A short EPK that takes a brief look inside the cop car, the creation of a stunt and a shootout.
- UV/iTunes Digital Copy