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This late 80s urban crime action movie is a riotous
trash masterpiece from James Glckenhaus, the man who brought us such
vigilante wet dreams as The Exterminator and bottom shelf military wank
fantasies like The Soldier.
While The Exterminator is a low budget sleaze epic that wallows in the
grime and misery of crime ridden New York and uses its cheap presentation
as an advantage in order to take the viewer into a cinematic world of dark
exploitation and extreme violence, Blue Jean Cop is a different kettle of
fish entirely, due to its large budget and higher calibre of actor. It
seems however that Glickehaus can't let the grindhouse go, because the
movie still has its fair share of scuffed and filthy movie houses,
derelict neighbourhoods and red lit sex sex clubs.
Peter Weller (Robocop) plays Roland Dalton, a jaded legal aid lawyer whose
about to make the leap from ethical Pro Bono cases to corporate law. He's
settled down with a fiancée from a rich, industrial family and his fate is
to work for the family firm, defending rich business against the little
Roland has one last client to deal with first, a black crack dealer
accused of murdering a cop in Central Park. A seemingly open-and-shut
case, it later transpires that the dead officer was bent and shot first.
The dealer, having sustained a non-fatal gunshot, retaliated, slaying the
corrupt undercover lawman.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg, as, alongside the godlike Sam
Elliot (Mask, Big Lebowski,
Frogs) as mulleted mustache wearing officer
Richie Marks, Dalton begins to unearth a web of dishonest police officers
in cahoots with underworld crime boss N.C. (Antonio Fargas - Huggy Bear
from Starsky & Hutch). They are treating the tough urban streets as
their own personal fiefdom.
Now, this odd couple, Dalton, a straight looking 80s yuppie lawyer with a
Hendrix loving rebel streak, and Richie, a classic action cop who doesn't
play by the rules but gets results, have to help save a self confessed
crack dealer from execution by unravelling the web of deceit surrounding
the case.... And of course, they have to stay alive while New York's
finest and the scum from the streets try to put them on ice.
In many ways this a typically unlovely piece of 80s action trash but with
winning performances from Elliot, who at one point tells an amazingly
stupid bar room tale about how he lost the love of his life by
accidentally killing her dog, and Weller, who plays the uptight law-geek
with real commitment, it attempts to raise itself up out of the mirk.
Despite having some terrible dialogue, the fact that the two leads play it
reasonably straight allows the viewer to revel in the stupidity, safe in
the hands of two fine actors.
...and what an amazing array of stupidity. This fine piece of crap has a
myriad of gonzo delights for the discerning scholar of bad movies. From
the trash talking bad cops and sewer dwelling denizens of the street to
the joyful way everyone breaks out the automatic weapons in crowded areas,
Blue Jean Cop never fails to entertain, especially when the mandatory high
speed car chases fill the screen.
The films demented final act ups the crazed ante even more, as Richie and
Dalton, speeding along the runway in a flash car, chase the two
ringleaders of the crime syndicate as they are about to embark on a jet
aircraft. Richie mounts the wheels of the plane as it takes off,
attempting to place a bomb while clinging on for dear life. The blue
screen effects for this sequence are among the worst I've ever seen in a
movie, which filled me with a deep sense of joy. An added wrong headed
thrill is to be had once you notice that the plane is hurtling towards the
world trade center, in a scene of retrospectively offensive filmmaking
that will leave you agog.
Blue Jean Cop is a classically awful piece of 80s nonsense that bridges
the gap between exploitation and the mainstream with verve and energy. For
film fans who enjoy cliche ridden dialogue, blood soaked gun play and 42nd
Street grime, the film is a delight. Showing this gloriously bad movie to
friends is the visual equivalent of setting fire to a bag of dog shit on
their porch, ringing the door bell, then running away...