Sylvester Stallone (Rocky) gives off a critically-acclaimed performance in this tense drama as Freddy Heflin. Freddy had big dreams of being a New York policeman all of his life, but after an accident left him deaf in one ear, he was ruled out of this ever happening. Freddy settled for a simple job as a Sherriff for a small town outside of New York populated by policemen, referred to as ‘Copland’.
When an up-and-coming policeman is caught up in a pursuit gone wrong and subsequently kills himself, Freddy stumbles upon evidence that leads him to believe the policemen in his town are not who they appear to be.
Freddy must now decide whether to take a stand and go against the men he idolizes or honour the policeman’s code and protect them. But is this his chance to prove himself? Can he be the policeman no one believed he could?
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Not your traditional action flick, nor your traditional cop flick. It has elements of each, all wrapped up in a new type of story that drips in realism and gray characters. Top acting honors go to Ray Liotta as Gary Figgis, a cokehead cop who just might be Freddy's only friend. Cop Land shares its leading man's slow-wittedness, but also his likability. At its heart, the movie has a good story to tell: the lumbering oaf who's not nearly as stupid and not nearly as gutless as all the hot dogs from the big city think.Stallone more than holds his own against an all-star ensemble cast; indeed, he soundly anchors the picture.It's a pleasure - a relief, even - to see that Sylvester Stallone can still act. Casting is everything, and the casting of Stallone - playing way against type - as the powerless hayseed sheriff in Cop Land is nothing short of Inspired. Those who know Stallone only from his muscle-bound muscle-head roles in mindless action pictures are in for a surprise.The film is probably best taken as an ultimately slight but still compelling Eastern that plays like a vintage Western about personal redemption. The way in which Mangold's writing and direction redistribute the weight of Stallone's screen persona is bound to impress.Though at first Cop Land seems as if it will be an ensemble piece, it is, in fact, Stallone's movie.With minimal theatrics, Stallone shows us a man who never wanted anything more than to be a cop finally deciding to be one of the good guys.Stallone's honest and human portrayal of a decent man who's let too much go by makes this film work.
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