Cops and Robbers Review
Cops and Robbers is a 2017 action film about a strung out hostage negotiator who plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a cornered bank robber.
The heist and hostage movie is a very particular breed, one spun of a number of absolutes that have come to define the genre, from desperate gun-wielding, masked crooks to bickering cops arguing over SWAT teams or negotiations. Now comes Scott Windhauser‘s latest Cops and Robbers, a low budget indie caper that dips mightily into the well, though has plenty of solid twists and a clever end.
Micheal (Michael Jai White) is a police hostage negotiator back on the job after a troubling incident left a man dead. It’s also left him haunted and not quite on the right side with some of his colleagues. He’s called to a bank robbery in progress, with four men inside holding innocents with automatic weapons and tear gas masks. They are led by Jessie (Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson), an ex-con with a huge chip on his shoulder, who changes the plan as soon they are inside, seemingly not interested in the money but something much more personal. See, Michael is his brother, and the two aren’t exactly tight, a tragedy in their past putting a serious wedge between them. Now the two battle for control with Jessie holding what seems like all the cards.
Despite a rough start, and a production struggling to do what it can with a limited budget, there’s a lot here that finds its stride. That’s mostly due to a great story, written by Windhauser, one that pits more than just cops against robbers, with a compelling angle involving the brothers. With shades of Dog Day Afternoon and bits of classics like Heat and Point Break, the story takes place over twelve-hours, most of that in a standoff as Jessie and Michael talk over the phone. Jessie harbors long festering feelings for something Michael didn’t do when they were younger, and now he’s after revenge. But that’s not to say we aren’t in for some surprises.
This little plot twist is the film’s saving grace, helping to ebb some of ho-hum of the other more obvious avenues Windhauser runs along, including a cantankerous Captain (Tom Berenger) always shouting obscenities at Michael. The film also suffers from the current trend of starting at the end before flashing back to the start, a cumbersome plot device that doesn’t do much to offer any weight. Still, there are things here that you won’t see coming and the payoff is pretty smart, with a final act that has a few well-earned flips.
While Windhauser tends to indulge, and the film has its pacing issues, along with a few stilted performances, overall, for what it wants to be, Cops and Robbers has enough going for it that fans of the genre will have plenty reason to stay tuned. Jackson is the best thing going for it, the most convincing of the lot, and White does good work as well. A decent thriller, this will certainly satisfy until the next in line comes along.
Cops and Robbers Review
Movie description: Cops and Robbers is a 2017 action film about a strung out hostage negotiator who plays a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a cornered bank robber.
Director(s): Scott Windhauser
Actor(s): Tom Berenger, Michael Jai White, Randy Wayne