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12 Hollywood Homicide (2003)
Reviewed by Nev Pierce
updated 28th August 2003

reviewer's rating
three star


Ron Shelton

Ron Shelton
Robert Souza

Harrison Ford
Josh Hartnett
Isaiah Washington
Lena Olin
Bruce Greenwood

116 minutes

Columbia TriStar

29th August 2003


Web Links

Interview with Harrison Ford

Interview with Josh Hartnett

Interview with Ron Shelton

Official website

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Grumpy and wry are two things Harrison Ford does well. In fact, there's an argument they're the only things he ever does, and with "Hollywood Homicide" that isn't about to change.

As thrice-divorced LA detective Joe Gavilan, he wrings out the same worn grimace and trademark smirk which made icons of Han Solo and Indiana Jones. And while it may no longer wash in America (where the picture bombed), this throwback, throwaway buddy picture is the better for his timber-tinged presence.

Teamed with the prerequisite rookie cop, KC (Josh Hartnett), Gavilan investigates a rap-related slaying, linked to record company boss Antoine Sartain (Isaiah Washington).

Why "Sarr-taayyn" (as it's invariably drawled) may have killed his clients is lost in a hodgepodge of endearing character-based comedy and the unwritten movie rule which states that all American detectives must stumble around gormlessly until the villain bottles it. Then have a big chase.

This 'climax' is pitiably predictable, but it does afford us the opportunity to watch a bloodied Ford furiously peddling a child's pink bike after the perp. And Hartnett commandeer a family car, whose worried kid passenger asks if he's going to die. "No. Well, yes. Well, you will eventually, but not now," is the brilliantly burbling reply.

As with co-writer/director Ron Shelton's grittier cop thriller "Dark Blue", it's dialogue and character which elevate "Hollywood Homicide", over any coherent, compelling story.

Gavilan moonlights as an estate agent, while KC teaches yoga. Each is dissatisfied with their day job: Hartnett's New Age-y lothario wants to act "because it's my bliss"; Ford's creaking cop is definitely, as Danny Glover used to moan in "Lethal Weapon", "too old for this s***".

It's an apt comparison, as the movie feels out of time, arriving ten years late for the 90s buddy cop boom. Less lethal, more lenient, but a good laugh nonetheless.

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