Hollywood Homicide came out at a time when Josh Hartnett was considered one of the most attractive actors in town. Personally, I’ve never understood his appeal. He just never made me swoon, despite my friends insisting that he was “really hot.” Harrison Ford, however… now that’s a man I will go to my death bed loving (so much more on this when we get to our Indiana Jones reviews).
It seemed incredibly unfair to cast Harnett opposite a man who is ten times more attractive and who possesses ten times the talent. But then I actually watched this movie. You’d be forgiven for not understanding Ford’s appeal after viewing this. He is clearly phoning it in. I often wonder when great actors made substandard films if they actually thought the movie would be good when they read the script. More often than not I think they’re usually doing a friend a favor or running out the clock on a crappy multi-picture deal they signed up for, but you never know. The premise of Hollywood Homicide sounds interesting enough, so maybe everyone involved thought it would be fun.
Basically, Ford and Harnett play LAPD detectives who moonlight as a real estate agent and yoga instructor/aspiring actor, respectively. It’s a classic mismatched buddy cop set-up, ironically it’s actually the police bits that kill this movie. The plot is so convoluted and boring that it quickly ceases to be entertaining. By the end I didn’t really care who killed who or who was framing whom or whatever else was going on. It was fun seeing Ford and Harnett struggle to balance their private and professional lives, but the crime they were investigating needed to be easier and more compelling to follow.
This was the beginning of when Harrison Ford started turning from ageless leading man to grumpy old man.
Ford stars as Joe Gavilan, a Los Angeles police detective who also moonlights as a real estate agent during his down time. His partner is K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), an aspiring actor and part time yoga teacher. They must have jobs on the side to earn some extra income because working for the LAPD pays peanuts. The two are investigating the murder of an up and coming rap band. Their main suspect is their homophobic (I assume!!) manager (Isaiah Washington) who wanted to send a message to his other clients when he started hearing rumours they wanted to break away from his company and get a new agent. Gavilan and Calden have to solve this murder, while Joe attempts to sell an old house he has owned for years, and K.C. spends all of his extra time practicing lines for a stage production of A Streetcar Named Desire.
This film is not great. I bought it because Harrison Ford was in it, and I literally used to buy everything. The film is not terrible, but there are so many more superior buddy cop movies. The scenes that show their other jobs feel unnecessary. They end up having nothing to do with the crime they are trying to solve. It would have been nice if their part time jobs somehow led them to the killer, but as it is, the extra scenes of their part time work just feel forced and not needed.
Ford is how he always is. A gruff snarky oldie that hates his job and most people in his life. Hartnett was an issue for me. He comes across as a nervous teenager, not somebody I would expect to be a policeman. It does explain why he is so keen on being an actor, but the scenes where he meant to an authoritative police officer don’t really work. If you want to watch a good buddy cop action movie, just stick to the original and the best: Lethal Weapon.