Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Edison Force. Feature film. (2005, 97 mins) IMDB
t's not surprising this film was released straight to DVD. While there are top notch performers involved in making this film, the story is weak. It's weak because it's been done before and before. It's been in films and novels; it's been on TV dramas and TV news documentaries and of courses it's filed the news. What am I talking about? Police corruption.
There's a wet-behind-the-ears "journalist" (Timberlake) who stumbles on possible police corruption when he covers a court case. He's eager to win prizes and fame and goes after it, but he has no idea what he is doing. His boss (Freeman), a veteran journalist, tells him so.
We know what has happened because we saw what happened and saw the faked court evidence. The task for the journalist is get evidence to support his hypothesis.
The cops beat him up and beat his girlfriend up. That doesn't stop him. It just slows him down. The cops also kill the one witness who is in prison. Surprise, surprise. A dearth of evidence except one dirty cop (LL Cool J) has a conscience. He hasn't completely drank the Kool-Aid.
The storyline is completely predictable. There are no surprises. No reversals. No twists. The good cop helps the journalists and legit investigators in stopping the corruption.
It ends with a massive shot out where lots and lots of bad cops are killed. There's even a flame thrower involved. What?!?
There's nothing terribly wrong with the film. It's perfunctory, but not a feature film level of story. It's trite and banal. The filmmakers bring absolutely nothing new to the table.
It might have had a chance if this young reporter was all we saw until he's ambushed and attack. In other words, don't show us the cops. Don't show us the dirty deals they carry out. Focus on the reporter and put him out on a limb. Make it worse for him as time goes by, but of course you couldn't cast Timberlake for such a role. You'd need some guy who may have had military training for some reason. That gives him a sporting chance.
The other possibility. A young reporter goes on a routine court case, drafts a story and is found dead. His editor and some other reporter pick up the pieces. Plus you have to have reversals and twists. People you thought you could trust, you find out you can't. People you thought was as dirty as mud, are completely innocent. Surprises.
One final comment on the story. I don't think it was properly structured. We want to see the McDermott character punished, but not by his boss with a third of the film to go. While our hero was in peril, it was early in the film and when it happens again, he's saved by powers not his own. In one instance, the good cop kills a would-be assassin. In another, the bad guy give the talk-out-of-killing routine. He had a chance to kill him but waited and so our hero is saved. These type of scenes are weak, unoriginal and put our hero in a position of being saved instead of doing the saving.
So why did so many talented performers get involved with this project? I saw the budget was around $25 million. A big chunk of that went to the above the line costs.
Posted 2009/06/02 at 20h50ET in Movie Commentary.