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Cop Land (Exclusive Director's Cut) (Miramax

A movie directed by James Mangold

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Copland has a place on my shelf

  • Jun 11, 2007
Every time I hear people saying that Sylvester Stallone can't act, I'm inclined to want to believe them. I think it's the dead sounding voice of his, that thick accent that he's never worked to get rid of. However, there are two movies of his where he is at the top of his game. In action films, he's the same, whether the hero or the villain. However, in comedy he is great in "Oscar" and in drama he is fantastic in "Cop Land." Filled with a cast full of high profile actors and yet a bomb at the box office for reasons unknown to me, this movie only suffers from a touch of melodrama.

Written and directed by James Mangold (Heavy), Cop Land is set in Garrison, New Jersey, just over the George Washington Bridge from New York City. Garrison is populated by the NYPD's most questionable, with the powerful, mob-bought Ray Donlan (Keitel) as its unofficial mayor. Among Ray's minions are his main henchman Jack Rucker (Robert Patrick) and the coke-fried Gary "Figs" Figgis (Liotta), who was brought into the inner circle after his partner died in an incident that brought Internal Affairs sniffing around. Watching over Ray's little slice of paradise is Sheriff Freddy Heflin (Stallone), a wannabe cop who was kept from the big-city force by a bum ear. With a badge that is little more than a vanity plate, Freddy's main duty is turning a blind eye to the shady dealings of Garrison's most prominent citizens. When Murray "Superboy" Babbitch (Michael Rapaport) kills two joyrides in what he thinks is self-defense but isn't, his compatriots first clumsily attempt to save his job by performing a quick-and-dirty plant, but that quickly goes wrong and in a deft move, Lieutenant Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), uncle, spirits him away in a phony suicide. But this does little to defuse the powder keg, and as Internal Affairs agent Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) moves in on Garrison but admits that the town is beyond his jurisdiction in the strictest sense, Freddy is forced to make a series of decisions that lead him to admit to himself, finally, that something is seriously wrong with this unsupervised town and that as sheriff, he's the one who's been falling down on that supervisor's job while facing a hard decision with his precinct.

While Cop Land is nothing too astounding, it is a good, solid drama, with a climactic scene that's worth the admission alone. The extra pounds Stallone put on serve him well for this part. In his past roles, his physique, along with his droopy-lidded, thick-tongued manner, has made him untouchably macho. With that taken away, Stallone is vulnerable. He stoops over his gut and walks uncomfortably -- a nice take for a character who's spent his life being pushed around. No matter how many shots of him staring dreamily over at New York or how many shots of him blanking out to a stuck-in-a-rut Bruce Springsteen song, it's the way in which he moves that nails this part for him. And while this role is being set forth as proof that Stallone is a serious actor, and has also maintained this in "Rocky Balboa."

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More Cop Land (1997) reviews
review by . April 19, 2002
posted in Movie Hype
Sylvester Stallone starts with one of the most solid casts he has ever shared a film with as a sheriff and NYPD wanna be who has to make the choice between his cushey job as head law officer in a town populated mainly by NYPD, and what's left of his self respect.A supporting cast full of A list starts and A list supporting characters deliver A list performances particularly Ray Liotta as an officer with his own past.The various sub plots as executed well and the finalie is a grand one.Stallone gets …
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Jen-Jay AKA:JJI ()
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Married into the military for over a decade and it does has itpros andcons. The lifestyle is great and Ido enjoy it. I'm able to do things and see things that I thought I wouldn't dream of. My kids loves … more
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About this movie


After making a critically acclaimed debut with the low-budget independent dramaHeavy, writer-director James Mangold took on this gritty crime drama, which was highly touted as Sylvester Stallone's long-awaited return to a serious dramatic role. With an illustrious cast of costars, includingGoodFellasalumni Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, and Ray Liotta, Stallone plays Freddy Heflin, the ineffectual sheriff of a New Jersey suburb that a group of corrupt New York cops have turned into their own off-duty criminal empire. Deaf in one ear and desperate to prove his worth, the sheriff takes on the cops with standoffish assistance from an Internal Affairs cop (De Niro), resulting in an explosive climactic showdown. The stellar cast can't be beat, and Stallone is quite good as the overweight cop whose pride is on the line. Mangold's script is wildly uneven, but the film still packs a white-knuckled punch.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: James Mangold
Screen Writer: James Mangold
DVD Release Date: June 1, 2004
Runtime: 116 minutes
Studio: Miramax Home Entertainment
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