Hollywood Homicide came out in 2003, fitting together an aging detective past his retirement and another fresh on the job. Despite the age, you would suspect the two leads are teenagers and the piece was filmed in 2012. Cell phones are used with careless frequency, becoming a relief when someone sits down to have an actual conversation.
Everything funnels through those phones. Exposition, romance, comedy, cop talk, business deals, and more. The ancient, early ’00s ringtones have more time than the soundtrack and score combined.
Of course, this is played as a running gag. Sergeant Joe Gavilan (Harrison Ford) tanked his real estate side business, and is now trying to unload a multi-million dollar mansion. Calls between the clients account for much of his dialogue, even as he is in the midst of chasing down the film’s killer in the finale.
This is, of course, plastered with Hollywood, center of the entertainment industry. However, a logical argument exists that most associate the location with the film industry, making it a wonder why the script ties it up with music. A young rap group is gunned down in a nightclub, with Gavilan and K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett) on the case. They sift through the usual culprits and low-end types, trying to sniff out information while dealing with personal issues.
It becomes a wonder how anyone gets work done. Gavilan has Internal Affairs on him without much causation, his finances are a mess, he is sleeping with a co-workers ex, and his real estate clients are driving him mad. Calden is sleeping with anything that moves, hosting yoga classes, and trying to make amends with women he no longer remembers. Police work is entirely by accident.
These two leads are polar opposites, the typical buddy movie scenario yet one without any genuine chemistry… mostly because they never hang up their phones. They feel entirely removed from one another, and Hollywood Homicide as a whole is so busy it never allows them to connect. Character building is for naught with each of them building such dramatically separate lives.
Running near two hours, the film needed at least one additional pass through editing, collapsing under its own bulk. A parking lot shoot-out with an unknown thug on police property is as wasteful as action scenes can be. The shooter is never seen again, nor is the sequence mentioned in future dialogue. Mostly, the film is a blasé procedural with minimal central logic.
The finale, a street chase and rooftop brawl, is crushed by the sheer stupidity of the criminal not-so-mastermind. Fearing a return to jail, he rams pedestrians vehicles, gets into a shoot-out in a public building, punches cops, and does it all in front of TV news cameras. Before all of that, he could never know what the police had on him. The only ones thinking were the producers who landed Harrison Ford and a (then) hot Josh Hartnett. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
Mill Creek is the recipient of an imperfect master for Hollywood Homicide, but still a genuine winner. Doubled up on the same disc with Hudson Hawk, the source is a pleasing one with resolution on the positive side. In close, high-fidelity detail is pure with exceptions made for drifting focus. Medium shots lose some of their oomph, a hair digital and often fuzzy. It is not hard to see this is not the freshest of masters.
Print damage is alleviated though, a speck or two across the entirety of the film the only detriment. Saturation is under control, plentiful bright primaries helped along by foliage and neon lights. Flesh tones are natural, freed some any digital tweaking. It looks right to the time period and tone. Black levels have exceptional weight and consistency, the interior of nightclubs or homes producing needed depth. A handful shots waver into crush territory with minor overall detriment.
But, when it comes to these multi-pack releases, the concern is always compression. Hollywood Homicide is generous with its encode, given plenty of room to breathe and typically stay out of the image. Grain is light enough as to not require any heavy duty lifting. Two spikes are the only times compression is readily apparent, taking on a coarse appearance against the yellows walls of Galivan’s home. Even the most complex material, mostly aerial shots of the city, hold their own. A combination of pleasing encoding, rich sharpness, and an acceptable master always makes for a winner. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
From its outset, the DTS-HD mix is shooting off guns, a tight, reflective gun range echoing out into the surrounds while stereos handle plenty of directional work. The split is certainly wide. Any of the shoot-outs, including a drive by late, offer up surround and stereo use. There is little age to the design, ready to appease a die-hard audio type even if it never digs too deep into the LFE.
Most of the bass is reserved for the soundtrack, hip-hop fueled and frequent. Balance is sharp, disallowing the music to overpower general dialogue. It’s all well done, totally suitable for a budget release and better than the expectation as such. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Audio]
Bonuses? Nope. The DVD had a handful (including a commentary), but that does not make the Mill Creek cut. [xrr rating=0/5 label=Extras]
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