It’s 12:23 am
So it here I am back at Family Video talking to Lindsay,our favorite clerk. I haven’t started my sweep yet because honestly,it’s rather nice to talk to a another human being about good cinema. Anyways,Lindsay is telling me that a lot of the Family Video stores are being reduced in size and this will include my favorite store in Westland.
I wasn’t caught by surprise because I had just read that last week in a Forbes article which profiled the man who owns Family Video. But what does mean is less old stock just taking up space. This has been a problem,shopping shelves full of 20-30 year old films is not anyone’s cup of tea. Shrinking and stocking/selling new titles will ensure product turnover at the fraction of the price,people will be able to find a whole slew of good unknown titles….like I did with “Badge of Honor”.
The cheetah and I have one rule when I go hunting…..I must buy any and all Lochlyn Munro films,he is our unofficial favorite actor here as this will be our fourth movie of his we have reviewed here. I also knew that by looking at the cast,it would the best film we have seen of his. We put on the popcorn,grabbed the Dr. Pepper and away we go….
Young Ramon is 15 years old and attending his first real high school party. Being a hard working student,he feels out of place and after hitting his first joint and seeing the girl he has a crush one with another guy,he decides to bail.
In the same apartment complex,Samuel and Jacob are meeting for drug buy,the buyers are a little uptight that Samuel brought along another man after being told to bring himself. As the two sides start working out their deal,police detectives David Myles (Lochlyn Munro) and Mike Gallo (Jesse Bradford) are down the hall and start to move into position.
Inside,after the two sides exchange drugs for cash,the buyers test the drugs and see that they have been had,as the sides begin to start yelling,Myles and Gallo bust in…shots are fired,bodies start dropping and Samuel grabs the cash and makes the dash with Myles right after him,Jacob bolts out through the front door. Gallo cuffs a suspect and takes off after him.
Ramon is now outside the party and headed home,he and Jacob pass each other and while they look different facially,clothing wise,they are dressed alike and when Mike barrels down the stairs and sees who he thinks is Jacob,he shoots first and hits Ramon.
Jacob sees what happens and runs like hell while Myles,having lost Samuel,comes rushing back to where Mike is.
Myles then convinces Mike to say that it was Ramon who was shooting at him and that he didn’t have a choice,he stages a fake crime scene and calls it in.
The head of the DA’s office,Aaron Wilde (Patrick Muldoon) is seen at home in the aftermath of sex with a beautiful blonde when he gets the call about the shooting,after he hangs up,he tells the woman that the call involved her husband who we later learn is David Myles.
Meanwhile Captain Daniel Richards (Martin Sheen) is questioning both cops making sure it was a legitimate shooting,Gallo is upset as he is expecting his first child along with his wife. But Myles reassures him everything will be fine.
The next day Wilde tells Capt. Richards he is having the shooting investigated by a new Internal Affairs detective,Jessica Dawson (Mena Suvari) who just transferred in from another division. Seems like Dawson drew down on her partner who critically injured a handcuffed man by beating him with his nightstick. Now she has stalled out career wise and IA is her last chance to have a career on the force.
Wilde and Dawson go over the case and he says he wants her best and that he understands her being so new but he has confidence in her.
As Dawson begins digging,we see the fallout of the shooting,Ramon’s mother wanting justice,Samuel and Jacob have a falling out which leaves Jacob in a tight corner as he has promised his girl he is going to take care of her and her son.
Gallo is torn apart by guilt and regret by what was really and truly a accident. Myles starts spinning out of control because soon he and Gallo are going to have to start answering some hard questions. Capt. Richard’s confidence in his men under his command shaken and with 6 months to go before retirement and a politically motivated DA on his back,this investigation has to clear his men,no matter what….
This is a huge sprawling story and it tries very hard to assemble all the pieces. While the cover of the box would lead you to think that this is Jessica Dawson’s search for the truth,it isn’t so. “Badge of Honor” belongs to Lochlyn Munro and he is both vile and sad as a once promising cop who has been destroyed a long time ago but his brain is a little slow on getting the message.
While this is a large ensemble cast like “Traffic” and the story is plotted like that film,just like Benicio Del Toro just owned “Traffic”,Munro’s David Myles is the one character we can’t take our eyes off. But because “Badge” has so many threads to follow,it loses focus on the one main story instead of 10 lesser ones. Basically Badge is too ambitious for its own good. Compound that with some miscasting and a big plot hole and “Badge” goes from a modern day classic to a very good film.
Director (and of four screenwriters) Agustin does a good job in guiding a very talented cast through the twists and turns. I only wish two things could have been different,that “Badges” had another 15-20 minutes to explore Myles’s backstory a bit more is one and the other would have been to either add a senior IA detective to have Dawson shadow or to have re-cast the part because Suvari was a bit overmatched in her role as Dawson. That plus the fact no IA cops ever act alone,especially in a large city like Seattle,much less work a high profile case like this as a rookie,only weakens the story. While Munro pretty much always plays a heavy in his films,one wonders what would have happened if he had played the senior IA cop instead.
So while the small cracks do weaken “Badge” a bit,its a noble overstretch and I will never fault a ambitious director for trying to tell a great story especially one on a indie budget.
Both the cheetah and I gave “Badge” and especially Lochlyn Munro,a huge thumbs/paw straight up.
How about you? What cops and robbers films have you seen recently? Let us know by dropping a comment below!