Monday, April 20, 2015

Top Cop

Probably the only film to pretend Little Rock, Arkansas locations are actually Washington, D.C., TOP COP is a regionally produced dud that fails in every category possible. Let’s start with the acting. A fat, clumsy, charisma-free, Old-Milwaukee-guzzling stuntman named Stephen P. Sides plays a fat, clumsy, charisma-free, Old-Milwaukee-guzzling undercover detective named Vic Malone, who is first seen singlehandedly killing child pornographers in a warehouse.

Malone and his partner Frank (Randal Files) are sent to D.C. to testify against Hot Springs crimelord Johnny Costello (Len Schlientz), a skinny, balding, middle-aged, completely non-threatening guy in a droopy mustache. Vic and Frank kill some crooks and pick up a pair of hot-for-Arkansas chicks — one of whom, Helen (Tiffany Dossey), is Johnny’s main squeeze. Frank is murdered by Johnny’s hitman, the Avenger (revealed in the stupid twist ending), and Malone is ordered to return to Little Rock after Costello is not indicted by the grand jury, before which Malone and Frank never testified.

Producer Helen Pollins wrote the screenplay, which possesses not a single original thought or line of dialogue. TOP COP is stupid and cheap (Skid Row is a burn barrel and eight guys in dirty baseball caps on the side of a country road — except for the natty old guy in suspenders who somehow knows the exact time and place of Johnny’s drug deals). The performers are ridiculous, particularly Sides’ porcine policeman, who always speaks through clenched teeth (with a gap in the middle), hates homosexuals, has no friends (except poor Frank), gets yelled at by all the angry black police captains, acts stubbornly and foolishly in every situation, and calls his new partner — a recent police academy graduate who wears glasses — an “accountant” probably ten times (it wasn’t funny the first time).

Crown International Pictures tossed TOP COP onto a DVD set over twenty years after it was made. No chance any theaters booked it in 1990 (unless director Mark Maness owned one), and who knows whether it made it to VHS. Why would anyone want to see TOP COP anyway, unless you really needed a couple of cheap laughs.

No comments: