June 18, 2017

Movie Review: Officer Downe

Have you ever thought what a riff on RoboCop and Judge Dredd directed by a member of Slipknot from a comic book source may look like? No? Well, why not? It doesn’t matter much, in case you are curious, such a beast actually exists. Officer Downe is one wild and weird movie. It is the movie that you will continue to watch, while trying to figure out what exactly it is supposed to be. Seriously, I found the movie to be quite entertaining, but when you try to figure it out, it is revealed to just be a complete mess. There does not seem to be a point to it and the story is show buried below the surface that it becomes a negligible element. The best choice would seem to be to just accept it for the surface and enjoy it on the level it is dead set to exist on, a cinematic oddity.

Officer Downe was directed by M. Shawn Crahan, better known s #6 or Clown from the band he founded, Slipknot. This is his first feature film following a series of music videos (mostly for Slipknot, but also one for Motionless in White), and his chaotic music style has followed him to the movie theater. Basically, do not expect to be able to make sense of the plethora of action sequences, just go with it. The screenplay was written by Joe Casey, the co-creator of the source comic book (which, I’ve never heard of before this film). He has also been involved in a number of other comic related programs, like Ben 10, Big Hero 6, Avengers Assemble, and Ultimate Spider-man. Much like the direction, the screenplay is all of the place to the point of making the plot a secondary function to making sure characters have something to say.

Officer Downe (Kim Coates of Sons of Anarchy fame) is a dedicated LAPD officer, equipped with a thirst for justice, an unstoppable will, and a pretty bad ass looking gun (even though it does not look like it should be able to work). Also, based on the opening scene, justice is not the only thing he has a thirst for, and is apparently equally unstoppable (watch the movie and you’ll see what I mean. In any case, he goes in and takes out as many of the bad guys as he can, even if he dies in the process. That’s right, dies.

You see, Downe is a secret weapon of the LAPD, an unstoppable killing machine. Through some mumbo jumbo involving a room full of people with motor-neuron issues they are able to resurrect Officer Downe to continue his war on crime. Something they’ve been doing for 25-years. You’d think somebody would realize something was up with this guy in that time, but I guess not.

To bring the audience into the story we have rookie Officer Gable (Tyler Ross). He is brought onto Downe’s support team. Basically, they wait until he’s done and then go and clean up. It is his moral issues that help push what little story there is along. On the conflict side, you have a mash of bad guys in animal masks called the Fortune 500, gun running nuns, and a martial arts master called Zen Master Flash who likes to play with subtitles.

On one level, the movie appears to be quote brain dead, but on occasion there are glimpses of intelligence. The idea of police brutality, the playing with subtitles, some of the character speeches, and the over the top nature border between ridiculous and brilliance. I am not quite sure how to really word it. It is a feeling I have while watching it. It runs right down the middle of good and bad. It encourages you to let go and just be with it. It never asks too much of the audience, just be swept up in its stream of consciousness.

Officer Downe is an entertaining romp of semi-intelligent nonsense. It is anchored by Kim Coates straitlaced performance. I would welcome another go around with this character should he return and they have a more focused story to tell. I can recommend this one, although I am sure it is not going to agree with all tastes.


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