Garrison, New Jersey is a town directly across the river from New York
City. Finding a loophole in the clause that says that only transit officers
can live outside of the city, NYPD officers looking for a place to raise
their families have taken out low interest loans, bought up most of the
housing in the town and moved in. Freddy Neflin (Sylvester Stallone) has
been named sheriff because he is friendly with the NYPD cops but cannot
become one himself because he is deaf in one ear.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel,
and Robert DeNiro
Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel) is the ringleader of a number of corrupt cops
who flagrantly run afoul of the law in Garrison. Sheriff Neflin, who is
really not that interested in getting into trouble with them, looks the
other way. Neflin's life has been a series of disappointments which started
as a teenager when he rescued a young girl from a car accident, losing
the hearing in one ear in the process. The girl, Liz Randone (Annabella
Sciorra), owed her life to Neflin but because she was beautiful, she ended
up marrying someone else. When Neflin tried to get on the NYPD, his partial
deafness cost him the job. Settling for the sheriff's post was as close
as he could get to doing what he wanted.
But, when Ray's nephew (Michael
Rapaport), a hero cop nicknamed "Superboy," gets
into a possibly scandalous situation involving the planting of evidence,
Ray tries to cover it up and incurs the wrath of Internal Affairs investigator
Moe Tilden (Robert DeNiro). Tilden tries to motivate Neflin into caring
about what goes on in his town.
Frankly, I went to see this movie for one reason: curiousity. I had heard
all of the hype about how Sylvester Stallone took a massive pay cut and
gained 40 pounds to star in this film because he believed it was a great
script. Stallone was going to try to do what Bruce Willis has been doing
for years -- starring in less-than-megablockbuster films and gaining respect
in the process.
I was skeptical about Stallone's ability to pull it off. I've enjoyed
precious few of his most recent movies. (I am one of the few people who
liked 1991's Oscar, so keep that in mind.) I really admire Stallone for
taking risks and trying new things. He's failed miserably in the past
with movies like Oscar and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot but with Cop
Stallone shows everyone -- including me -- that he's a bona-fide actor.
He's the best part of this film.
Now, that's not being trite.
This is a movie with heavyweight talent on the bill. Normally with stars
like Harvey Keitel, Robert DeNiro, Ray
Liotta, and Michael Rapaport onscreen with you, providing the best performance
in a film is a major achievement. Unfortunately, the reason that happens
is that only Stallone's character is given any meat to work with. Keitel's
Ray Donlan is fairly cardboard-like. DeNiro's Moe Tilden doesn't get to
do much than say the F-word and look frustrated at the lack of progress
in the case. Liotta plays the psychotic parts of his character with gusto,
but seems out of place otherwise. Rapaport's "Superboy" does
little more than look like a deer caught in headlights.
Still, I have to recommend the movie for the beauty of Stallone's performance.
For the first time since Rocky, I actually sympathized with his character
as the result of his acting. I can only hope that Stallone doesn't get
dissuaded from doing parts like this more often if Cop Land doesn't do
well at the box office.
Method Man plays a criminal in the movie. (Look for him on the rooftop
with Peter Berg.) (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)