- Movie Rating -

Rent-A-Cop (1988)

| January 15, 1988

I was at a friend’s house just recently and I saw his daughters playing with some magnets on the refrigerator.  Each of the magnets was embossed with a word and when they arranged them just right, they formed a sentence.  I thought about this all through the action picture Rent-A-Cop which I think may have been conceived in much the same way.  Just arrange some words: Cop | Prostitute | Villain | Drugs | Guns | Chases.  Also, you could plug in that the cop hates the prostitute; she’s in danger from the movie’s villain.  They join up, they hate each other. They fall in love.  To that I could add: Critic | Annoyed | Checks Watch.

The cop is Burt Reynolds who looks utterly bored by this plot.  He plays Tony Church, who has been disgraced by the Chicago PD after a drug bust goes wrong.  The prostitute is played as a jabbing dolt by Liza Minnelli.  The tenets of their relationship could easily have been spelled out by throwing the magnets on the floor, but I did sense the two of them trying to eek out some humanity through the plot’s murk.  It’s present.  It doesn’t work.  But I give them points for trying.

Of course, there’s also a killer is on the loose.  He is named Dancer and is played by James Remar who seems to be occupying a different kind of movie.  He’s a vicious killer on the level of a slasher movie, but butted up against a formula romance by the two leads, the throws things off-balance, as if they weren’t already.

I don’t know what anyone was thinking here.  I got bored early on as I watched this movie march through the same tired formula, the same tired plot machatisms and right down to a violent shoot-out that you could predict with your eyes closed.  I think my friend’s daughters could have put together a better script than this.  They’re young,  They haven’t seen this plot a millions times like I have.

Critic | Cynical | Aggravated | You bet

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1988) View IMDB Filed in: Action