Directed by Joe Carnahan.
Written by Joe Carnahan.
Starring Ray Liotta and Jason Patric.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 1/14/03
Love Ray Liotta. He looked intense in the
trailers for “Narc”, the new film by writer/director Joe Carnahan,
and that was all I needed to go see this film.
Liotta is perfect for the role of Detective
Henry Oak, an unstable Detroit officer that has just lost his
partner, Michael Calvess (Alan Van Sprang), to a drug deal gone
bad. Detective Nick Tellis (Jason Patric) is put on the murder
investigation to tag along with Oak, since Oak’s superiors think he
may violate police procedure in tracking down Calvess’ killers. Why
is Tellis the right man for the job? Tellis has been out of work
for the past 18 months due to a collateral damage death at the hands
of his police-issue handgun following a chase with a known
criminal. To get back on the force, Tellis only has to finish this
one case for the city, and he will be reinstated with a desk
job...which is all Tellis wants, since he is now a family man and
father of a newborn son.
The heart of the film, much like
Day”, follows these two mismatched officers as they pursue the
killer of the slain officer and we get Liotta and Patric almost
exclusively for the final two-thirds of the film, and their
performances are magnificent. Liotta does intense as well as anyone
out there, and as he beats perpetrator after perpetrator, curses to
his heart’s content and stares at criminals with those steely eyes,
it is easy to buy how crazy his character might be. It is Patric
that is the real surprise here. Normally accustomed to blank looks
in bad films like “Speed 2: Cruise Control”, he is incredible in
“Narc” and I have to believe that the credit here goes to Carnahan
for milking a great performance out of him without making him do
things outside of his range. The struggles that Tellis faces at
home, on the job, and in his partnership with Oak are brought
together beautifully by Patric’s performance. Support by Chi
McBride (“Boston Public”) and Krista Bridges as Tellis’ wife is
pretty good; the gritty Detroit scenery makes me believe that, along
with similar sets in
“8 Mile”, I might never be a full-time resident
in the Motor City, because Carnahan seems to have found every gutted
apartment, warehouse and street corner that wasn’t used in the Eminem drama.
The investigation plot that makes up most of
the running time for “Narc” is a bit hackneyed, so the surprises in
the storyline are few and far between. You definitely get the
feeling that you have been down this road before, and while “Narc”
does a good job of keeping you hooked, it doesn’t reinvent the wheel
here. Beyond that, “Narc” is pretty solid entertainment driven by
very energetic performances in the lead roles. Besides, did you
really want to go see “Just Married”?
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard