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Blue Jean Cop

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Posted 5th April 2009 at 10:34 PM by Sam@Cult Labs

Blue Jean Cop

Also known as Shakedown, this late 80s urban crime action movie is a riotous trash masterpiece from James Glckenhaus, the man who brought us such vigilante wet dreams as The Exterminator and bottom shelf military wank fantasies like The Soldier.

While The Exterminator is a low budget sleaze epic that wallows in the grime and misery of crime ridden New York and uses it's cheap presentation as an advantage in order to take the viewer into a cinematic world of dark exploitation and extreme violence, Blue Jean Cop is a different kettle of fish entirely, due to it's large budget and higher calibre of actor. It seems however, that Glickehaus can't let the grindhouse go, because the film still has it's fair share of scuffed and filthy movie houses, derelict neighbourhoods and red lit sex clubs.

Peter Weller (Robocop) plays Roland Dalton, a jaded legal aid lawyer whose about to make the leap from ethical Pro Bono cases to corporate law. He's settled down with a fiancee from a rich, industrial clan and his fate is to work for the family firm, defending rich business against the little man.

Roland has one last client to deal with first, a black crack dealer accused of murdering a cop in Central Park. A seemingly open and shut case, it later transpires that the dead officer was bent and shot first. The dealer, having sustained a non-fatal gunshot, retaliated, slaying the corrupt undercover lawman.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg, as, alongside the godlike Sam Elliot (Mask, Big Lebowski, Frogs) as mulleted mustache wearing officer Richie Marks, Dalton begins to unearth a web of dishonest police officers in cahoots with underworld crime boss N.C. (Antonio Fargas - Huggy Bear from Starsky & Hutch). They are treating the tough urban streets as their own personal fiefdom.

Above: Elliot rocks the unreconstructed 80s dude look. 'Tache in full effect, he is the living embodiment of rough and ready masculinity.

Now, this odd couple, Dalton, a straight looking 80s yuppie lawyer with a Hendrix loving rebel streak, and Richie, a classic action cop who doesn't play by the rules but gets results, have to help save a self confessed crack dealer from execution by unravelling the web of deceit surrounding the case.... And of course, they have to stay alive while New York's finest and the scum from the streets try to put them on ice.

In many ways this a typically unlovely piece of 80s action trash but with winning performances from Elliot, who at one point tells an amazingly stupid bar room tale about how he lost the love of his life by accidentally killing her dog, and Weller, who plays the uptight law-geek with real commitment, it attempt to raise itself up out of the mirk. Despite having some terrible dialogue, the fact that the two leads play it reasonably straight allows the viewer to revel in the stupidity, safe in the hands of two fine actors.

...And what an amazing array of stupidity. This fine piece of crap has a myriad of gonzo delights for the discerning scholar of bad movies. From the trash talking bad cops and sewer dwelling denizens of the street to the joyful way everyone breaks out the automatic weapons in crowded areas, Blue Jean Cop never fails to entertain, especially when the mandatory high speed car chases fill the screen.

The films demented final act up the crazed ante even more, as Richie and Dalton, speeding along the runway in a flash car, chase the two ringleaders of the crime syndicate as they are about to embark on a jet aircraft. Richie mounts the wheels of the plane as it takes off, attempting to place a bomb while clinging on for dear life. The blue screen effects for this sequence are among the worst I've ever seen in a movie, which filled me with a deep sense of joy. An added wrong headed thrill is to had once you notice that the plane is hurtling towards the world trade center, in a scene of retrospectively offensive filmmaking that will leave you agog.

Blue Jean Cop is a classically awful piece of 80s nonsense that bridges the gap between exploitation and the mainstream with verve and energy. For film fans who enjoy cliche ridden dialogue, blood soaked gun play and 42nd Street grime, the film is a delight. Showing this gloriously bad movie to friends is the visual equivalent of setting fire to a bag of dog shit on their porch, ringing the door bell, then running away...

Bonus: Here's the fantastic trailer for Glickenhaus' amazing action-trash delight....The Exterminator.

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