Third World Cop

Back on home turf: cool-cop Capone (Campbell) tries to bust a gun-running ring...
dir Chris Browne
scr Suzanne Fenn, Chris Browne, Chris Salewicz
with Paul Campbell, Mark Danvers, Carl Bradshaw, Audrey Reid, Winston Bell, Lenford Salmon, Desmond Ballentine
99/Jamaica 1 out of 5 stars
Review by Rich Cline
Using just about every cop-thriller formula imaginable, Jamaican filmmaker Chris Browne tries valiantly to capture Kingston's mean streets in Third World Cop. But the cliches mount up so severely that they defeat him in the end. The acting is very good, the setting is intriguing and the dialect, while often impenetrable (subtitles next time?), at least gives the film a ring of authenticity. But the storyline is so predictable that it hurts.

Capone (Campbell) left home as a thug and now returns to his old 'hood as a tough cop. On his first day he (a) discovers a gun-running ring and (b) reunites with his best pal Ratty (Danvers), as well as Ratty's now-voluptuous sister Rita (Reid). Capone soon clashes with an even more thuggish fellow cop (Salmon). And then he realises that Ratty is involved in the gun trade, working with the local one-armed gangster (Bradshaw). Can he solve the crime and save his friend?

Ho hum. You can quickly see where this is heading, right down to the smallest little plot twist. And these aren't the only cliches co-opted into the setting; Capone has an eager-yet-terrified partner (Bell), and there's even an inexplicable sequence in which he goes undercover as a woman! That said, there are some solid touches, most notably in the gritty street feel. And the relationship between Capone and Ratty is nicely played--pigheaded stubbornness conflicting with brotherly trust. But even that isn't terribly original, is it?

[15--themes, violence, language, sex] 20.Mar.00
UK release 24.Mar.00

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2000 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall