Officer Down (2013)
Even when an actor has made it to a recognizable tier in his profession there are still prone to taken on roles outside of their established venue. This holds particularly true for actors involved in a successful television series. When the show goes on hiatus there is frequently a considerable amount of free time. Most actors who have made it to this level are consummate professionals that are always seeking to expand their range and, most importantly, stay in the public eye during the long months off the air. David Boreanaz is such an actor. He burst on to the public stage with his continuing portrayal of an angst riddle vampire on both ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and his spin-off ‘Angel’. Now he is co-star, director and producer on one of the Fox networks flagship crime series, ‘Bones’, still going strong after eight seasons. He remains active in the direct to video crime thriller, ‘Officer Down’. Besides Mr. Boreanaz the movie sports a number of faces readily recognizable to diehard fans of TV including Anna Lynne McCord, Laura Harris, Elisabeth Röhm and the ever talented James Woods. You might say that this film is a fiduciary assuredly program for television actors and to a certain degree that would be accurate. The flip side of the coin is the same circumstances enable an assembly of proven talent with a proven track record of public appreciation. While none of the aforementioned actors are in starring roles their inclusion is sure to spark recognition making a fan more likely to take a chance on this movie. Direct to video was once the dank basement of the entertainment industry but thanks to the digital revolution it has moved to a respectable means of distribution. ‘Officer Down’, is an example of this. While admittedly not the most stellar offering of the genre it is a solid beer and pizza flick that is enjoyable to watch when some friends come over for a game that is rained out unexpectedly. There is action, drama and sufficient excitement to hold you attention and provide an entertaining afternoon.
David Callahan (Stephen Dorff) is a detective with the Bridgeport, Connecticut police department. In last case was covering especially notorious drug dealer. During the take down Callahan was shot and seriously wounded. The drama of the situation is increased as a result of Callahan’s unofficial activities. He is a dirty cop in the employ of a strip club owner whose sleazy establishment is a front for his criminal enterprises. This brush with death a caused Callahan to take serious inventory of his life and where the double dealing will inevitably lead.to further this goal he stops drinking and resigns from his illegal endeavors. With the time freed up by this life course change the formerly corrupt detective tries his best to rebuild the relationship wife Alexandra (Elisabeth Röhm) and teenage daughter Lanie (Beatrice Miller). His side job may have been lucrative but it was at the cost of ruining his family relationships. Callahan owes his survival to a man that intervened; saving his life. He becomes obsessed with locating the man that was the catalyst for his self-rehabilitation. The pace picks up when Callahan encounters a man claiming to be the Good Samaritan, Sergei (Zoran Radanovich). He has in his possession a diary of a young woman prostitute. The strip club covertly offered more in the line of sexual release than the vicarious exhibitions of the dancers. The club worked in the back room brothel that made most of the profits the place generated. The Diary was kept by a young girl struggling to escape the sex parlor. In the journal a man referred to as ‘The Angel’ ((Walton Goggins) is prominently mentioned. He has been preying on young women in the club with dire efficiency. In the words of Michael Corleone every time I try to get out they pull me back in". Callahan begins to sink back into the life he desperately wants to leave behind. Initially the reemergence is noble; saving the dancers from a terrible death, but soon he resumes drinking and finds the mire of his old ways are more difficult to get rid of than he had hoped.
The featured names cited above have familiar role, undoubtedly with a reasonable salary for the contribution to the marketing. Woods is the weary captain while Boreanaz takes a vacation from the stalwart Federal agent on ‘Bones’ to play a grizzled cop.
The strength of the flick is in the exploration of several classic themes. We have all made mistakes in our lives; things that we have come to regret and need to make amends for. Callahan is earnest in is regrets and attempt to rehabilitate his life. It is also a case on no good deed going unpunished. Callahan is weighted down by his concern for the safety of the dancers keeping then from the heinous rapist at large. There is also a very human component of transference, Callahan has neglected his family and sees protecting the dancers as a surrogate for protecting his daughter. Even with the overall predictability of the movie the main performances are expertly executed. Dorff has the put upon detective down to near perfection. He has played similar roles many times in the past always managing to place some defining spin on the archetype. Goggins is arguably one of the most versatile journeyman actors on the scene today. He can play characters of shady intent better than most. His prior work in ‘The Shield’ and more recently ‘Justified’, demonstrates that this actor can bring on the emotional intensity like few others. Together these actors create a riveting thriller that has its flaws but still delivers. Forgive the misdirection created by the prominent display of famous names in smaller roles; it is part of the marketing side of the industry. What matters is they do add accents to the presentation that are quite noticeable. Overall this movie is a fun watch, perhaps even for a repeated viewing.