A story about a veteran/rookie cop duo in pursuit of solving a crime, blowing up some cars and making people laugh—it’s nothing new to Hollywood. Joe Gavilan, played by Harrison Ford, is a veteran LAPD homicide detective who is ready to give up. He has a side job as a real estate agent but struggles to pay his bills because he’s losing more money than he thought he’d be making.
Josh Hartnett plays his rookie partner, K.C. Calden, who also has a side gig as a yoga instructor and a passion for acting. When four members of a budding hip-hop group get murdered in a club, Gavilan and Calden are put in charge of solving this case, which sheds light into a dark side of the music industry. However, with Gavilan more concerned about making a property sale and Calden preoccupied with learning the lines of his show, A Streetcar Named Desire, you almost wonder if these two are even serious about their day job.
The film starts out a little too slow, and for more than the first half of the movie, Ford’s and Hartnett’s attempts at humor seem a bit forced. The action sequence, which is the funniest and best part of the movie, takes too long to start. More action scenes would have made the film stronger overall. However, the last 30 or 40 minutes are so entertaining that it somewhat redeems the boring and overplayed cop-movie storyline.
Also, the film follows the love lives of both main characters, but it spends more time on Harrison’s character. Harrison Ford was hot at one point in his career, but it would have made more sense to focus on Hartnett’s character’s love scenes.
On the positive side, the supporting cast—including Lena Olin, Dwight Yoakam, Martin Landau, Lolita Davidovich, Isiah Washington, Lou Diamond Phillips, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and Robert Wagner, as well as hip-hop artists like Master P., KURUPT and Dre from Outkast—is impressive (especially enjoyable is Lou Diamond Phillips’ cameo as an undercover cop dressed in drag).
Another strength of the film is its great location. The film uses real buildings, landmarks and streets of Los Angeles. Director Ron Shelton (Bull Durham, Tin Cup, White Men Can’t Jump) steers away from the sports genre here, which doesn’t seem like such a good idea for him.
Hollywood Homicide will attract movie rentersbecause of the two stars in the film, but it’s not a movie that will stand out among all of the 2003 summer blockbusters.