Friday, November 27, 2015

Colors (1988)

Director: Dennis Hopper

Writers: Michael Schiffer, Richard Di Lello

Composer: Herbie Hancock

Starring: Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Maria Conchita Alonso, Randy Brooks, Grand L. Bush, Don Cheadle, Gerardo Mejia, Glenn Plummer, Rudy Ramos, Sy Richardson, Trinidad Silva, Charles Walker, Damon Wayans, Fred Asparagus, Seymour Cassel, Courtney Gains, Mario Lopez, Tony Todd

More info: IMDb

Tagline: 70,000 gang members. One million guns. Two cops.

Plot: An experienced cop and his rookie partner patrol the streets of East Los Angeles while trying to keep the gang violence under control.

My rating:  6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Call me crazy but it seems like this movie underplays the dangers of being a cop in 1980s L.A.. I have nothing to base it on other than, you know, other movies and documentaries that show a much harsher, violent side to gangland activity back then.  The closest I ever got to being in a gang in the 80s was me and some friends riding our bikes together to go to the arcade in '82.  We blew a lot of quarters that day and drowned ourselves in Coke and Little Debbies at the refreshment counter between hardcore bouts with Joust and Ms. Pacman.  Good times.  COLORS feels like it's got something to say but it doesn't go nearly as far as it should have.  Bob (Duvall) is the veteran cop who knows how things work on the street and Danny (Penn) is the fresh, young hot shot who thinks he's the guy to tame it.  By the end of the film Danny acts like the vet when he teaches the new guy who has Danny's old role.  It doesn't feel like Danny has earned that right yet.  You've got hot and cold but nothing in between.  The performances are all fine and it's great seeing a lot of now-famous faces early in their careers.  Herbie Hancock's score is very bland and most of the cues seem interchangeable with one another as if he wrote some tunes not knowing where or how they'd be used. I saw this around 25 years ago and I my opinion of the film hasn't really changed.  I don't know who put it out (MGM and 20th Century Fox are both on the packaging) but it's on a double bill with another Penn flick, AT CLOSE RANGE (1986).  The print is anamorphic widescreen with not a single extra.

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