Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cop Land: Full Eclipse

Oh Jim Wynorski, can I never escape you?  In fairness, I actually did not know that this was one of his films until I started to watch it.  Good surprise or bad surprise- you decide!  This is a film about police officers who take an extra kick in order to get an edge on the criminals of the day.  The help comes in the form of a strange policeman and his mysterious formula to create 'super cops.'  What does this have to do with werewolves?  That's for me to know and you to find out, mister!  This is...
Full Eclipse
The movie begins with a hostage situation at a night club.  The two detectives (Mario Van Peebles and Anthony Dennison aka one of the cops on The Closer) go in through the roof's vents, although the latter does his best 'I'm getting too old for this shit' routine.  They take forever to go through the vents- which support 200-lb men- and even fail to stop a guy who stupidly stands up to the Uzi-wielding thug.  Way to be man...that is full of bullet holes.  The partner makes a noise, causing him to be shot full of holes.  It is only then that Mr. Peebles decides to drop out of the vent and kill the bad guys.  Timing is not your strong suit!  The man ends up in the hospital, but is visited by a strange man who inject something in his I.V.  He shows up the next day for work and appears to have no wounds or anything.  Someone had his V8 today!  Naturally, that morning, they run across a drive-by shooting, which leads to a major action scene.  The partner actually chases the car down on foot, while Peebles follows.  He actually wrestles with one of the guys after they steal a motorcycle!  He causes the vehicle to crash and walks out unscathed, slightly freaking out his partner.  Meanwhile, we get a sub-plot involving our hero's marriage degrading.  That was...out of nowhere, movie!
Before all of this can sink in, Peebles' partner shows up at a 'cop bar' and blows his brains out with a strange bullet.  This drives our hero to seek industry counseling, which leads him to a mysterious man (Bruce Payne).  He is hesitant, but shows up for 'group therapy.'  They explain that they have formed a group to enforce the laws in the way that regular cops will not.  He is not quite on-board, so they take him to watch a mission of theirs.  After injecting themselves with a mysterious fluid, they swim across a river and attack a group of mafioso.  They have crazed faces and claws, which strikes our hero as odd.  He tries to quit, but is told that he is working with them- like it or not.  He is still not convinced, even after the hot blond on the team tries to seduce him.  We get some bits of him looking into his partner's death, discovering some cryptic notes he left behind and the fact that he melted his favorite silver dollar into a bullet.  At the next meeting, he discovers that just the blond is there.  When he turns her down again, she does the natural thing: she shoots a hole in his chest!  After injecting him with the serum, his wounds heal and he does the nasty with her.  She shows signs of the same crazed face and teeth.  Want to explain this at all?
Entering the third act, Peebles is now on-board with the whole 'rogue cops' thing.  The group gets attacked in their van by some members of the group killed earlier, but they all walk out in pseudo-werewolf form.  Basically, they have faces like the vampires on Buffy and claws reminiscent of Subspecies' villain.  We learn, however, that there is some strife in the group.  One of them is regretting the vicious actions of the group, so he has to die.  We finally learn the truth behind the serum.  Basically, Payne's character is a 500+ year old werewolf that has been taking fluid from his brain and injecting it into the people.  That's right- werewolf juice makes you heal super-fast and become Wolverine.  Before you can let that sink in, the hero and the blond escape through a glass window, but the latter dies.  Evidently, she has been taking less and less of the serum and is human enough to die.  Really, movie?  That's like saying that Luc Devaraux's brother was frozen, but not actually a UniSol!  Anyhow, Peebles convinces the others to revolt against Payne, who finally turns into a full werewolf under the full moon!  Holy Kibakichi, Batman- what took you so long?!?  Peebles manages to kill him by causing the freighter canister they were on to fall.  We get the 'It's not over' ending in the form of Peebles and his reunited wife going around and carrying on Payne's mission of vengeance.
This movie is honestly quite entertaining, even if it has some serious plot issues.  There is a lot of action- pseudo werewolf and other- and it moves pretty briskly.  The whole bit with Peebles partner's transformation occurring is jarring enough to hold your interest for a while.  The acting is about as good as you are going to get from an action movie made in the '90s that was directed by Jim Wynorski.  On the plus side, Bruce Payne- aka Damadar from Dungeons & Dragons- is always fun to watch.  When the movie gets around to explaining everything, it loses a little momentum though.  The whole idea is a bit silly and never quite explained enough for most people's tastes.  The real werewolf you get at the end makes up for a lot of this, but appears pretty briefly.  If you want a fun action movie that won't make a lot of sense, give this one a rental.  It's loud, pulpy and weird enough to hold most people's attention for 90 minutes.
Up next, a black kung-fu star becomes an international spy.  Maybe you should lose the afro for undercover work, buddy!  Stay tuned...

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