Timed to capitalise on the
late-80s/early-90s vogue for buddy cop flicks, The Rookie
features the unlikely pairing of Clint Eastwood and Charlie Sheen
starring as, you guessed it, a grizzled old timer and his young upstart
of a protégé.
Eastwood, who also directed, is out to
avenge the death of his partner at the hands of Raul Julia, the
murderous head of an auto theft outfit. Together Eastwood and Sheen
must put aside their differences to infiltrate the gang, avenge the dead
cop and bring the roguish cad to justice.
It’s a fairly by-the-numbers affair, and in
all honesty contains few flashes of the directorial brilliance that
would later culminate in modern-day classics like Million Dollar Baby
and Gran Torino. The clunky script is as stale as a week-old
donut (sample dialogue includes ‘You want a piece of me?’ and
‘I’m gonna blow that shit you call brains all over my partners face’),
Eastwood’s tough guy growl is grating and all throughout filming Sheen
was in the midst of, surprise surprise, a fairly serious drug and
alcohol problem. In addition there are some startling idiosyncrasies of
casting, with the Puerto Rican Julia and Brazilian Sonia Braga
portraying German villains, and not always convincingly. Sheen also
feels somewhat subdued and is a far cry from his usual charismatic
The film does have a few strengths, most
notably its exhilarating car chases and the odd high-octane action
sequence. The HD surround soundtrack is excellent and powerfully
emanates from the speakers, though unfortunately these explosions of
sound aren’t complimented by the visuals, with the dark, grainy transfer
containing numerous artefacts.
At the end of the day the odd burst of
adrenaline can’t compensate for a veritable cavalcade of cop movie
cliches, cornball dialogue and some fairly lacklustre performances. The
Blu-ray release also wants for further incentive in the form of bonus
features, with a theatrical trailer being the sole bonus.