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|08.01.07||Weird Wednesday|| MITCHELL!!!!!|
That's a great name for a police captain to scream at the top of his lungs. Like Brannigan or McBain. That didn't really happen here though. Sure the captain's pissed at Mitchell's unorthodox methodology and unwillingness to follow orders, but there was no Last Action Hero window-shattering going on... oh well.
Instead, there was a whole lot of Joe Don Baker acting like a kid on impersonate-your-parent's-profession day. As I watched I couldn't help but notice that Mitchell doesn't actually do much police-work, and what little he does do is, well, wrong. In fact, I'd venture to say that Mitchell is a pretty horrible cop and worthy of some good ol' fashioned Captain-yelling... for instance:
When Mitchell wakes up in the back of a police car at the scene of a crime and the uniform officer asks him if he wants to come in, he considers it like he's checking to see if he needs to pee then agrees. Then he finds fault with John Saxon killing a burglar because he planted a gun near the body to make himself seem less... evil (I guess his party guests didn't mind since he did the cold-blooded shooting in front of them). Maybe it's because Saxon refers to the robber as a "wetback" that ignites some moral outrage in Mitchell? Nah... later on when he's being tough, Mitchell declares "I'm gonna bust you for the murder of that Mexican." Still no name... I'm not sure either of them even looked at the body because the dude was pretty clearly black.
When Mitchell witnesses a harsh attempt at a hit and run, he tracks down the felon in his scraped-up car, beats the crap out of him, and slams his hand in the car door. Did he arrest him? Cuff him? call in back up? Nah... just getting even I guess. That's what you get when you mess with Mitchell! Next.
Mitchell's idea of tailing suspect Martin Balsam seems to be showing up every morning, honking until Balsam comes out, and giving him a big thumb's up. I guess I'm not a cop so it's just every other cop movie I've ever seen that leads me to believe that tails or stake-outs are generally considered discreet affairs, but discreet is not in Mitchell's vocabulary.
As for dealing with bona fide criminals, Mitchell never arrests anyone. He just shoots them. Preferrably in the face. He shoots EVERYONE in this movie and the people who don't get a bullet get blown up instead. So unorthodox!
I guess the only time he acts like a police at all is when he arrests his whore girlfriend for having weedm but you can tell he's doing it more to piss her off and just because he can than any reason of moral or lawful fortitude.
Maybe it's because I've been reading an extremely thorough non-fiction portrait of the homicide detective, but I found every negligible and anti-cop maneuver Mitchell does utterly hilarious. It's just so far removed from any semblance of reality... that's damn entertaining. Like trying to kill someone with a dune buggy. What? How do you even do that? Slopping around in riverbanks with loose mud and dirt in this little buggy that, while it does go fast, can't weigh more than 300 pounds... going out to crack a guy's rib or run over his foot I can see but murder? Especially if you're John Saxon and you've just shot a (mistakenly) Mexican burglar in your home with one of 58 guns laying around... how does the decision to go after "freak dune buggy accident" cross your mind?
I guess if you're in Mitchell's world nothing really has to cross your mind; you just do it and don't bother to look back. "Hey, did you really lay that?"
UPDATE: I completely forgot to mention the other pretty major thing that I love about this movie and that's how it seems to focus on Mitchell's depression and misery whenever possible. This hangdog harmonica music slides in whenever Mitchell doesn't get his way and even when he's happy there's a Leon Redbone type of song singing about him with a decidedly sad tone. There's even a scene where Mitchell's laying there on the bed all grumpy like, swilling warm Schlitz before he drags himself up out of his stupor to take a shower. There's no dramatic thrust to that scene; no reason for it to be there at all. But it's there and I love it.