HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Officer Downe
HTS Overall Score:65
Comic book movies have had carte blanche to do whatever they want in the last few years, and we’ve been able to see some truly oddball characters come to life because of that. However, except for a few exceptions like “Deadpool” and the newly released “Logan”, R-rated comic movies have had a rough road to ride on, with most of them failing miserably. I’m a HUGE fan of “Dredd” and “Watchmen”, but audiences really didn’t take to the bleak, blood soaked films as much as they did the classic Spiderman, Batman and Captain America characters. Given that caveat, I wasn’t expecting much from a low budget iteration of the Graphic Novels starring Officer Downe, but the trailer had me intrigued. A lot of heart and effort goes into those low budget passion projects, but there was the outlying factor of having the lead founder of the band “Slipknot” be the director. I mean, we’ve seen what Rob Zombie can do, and love him or hate his directing style, you have to admit that he has talent. With Shawn Crahan (Clown from “Slipknot”) making his directorial debut, there wasn’t much information or precedence to go on. Sadly, the film ended up being what I expected. A “Slipknot” music video that has about 15 minutes of really fun material that just goes on for WAY too long (even at 88 minutes).
For those who haven’t read the comics, we’re introduced to the famous Officer Downe (Kim Coates) as he blasts and tears his way through a maniacal drug dealer’s hideout with blood thirsty enthusiasm. Shot up and torn apart, we watch as his corpse is dragged away to an unknown location, most likely never to be seen from again. Flash over to our OTHER protagonist, rookie LAPD cop Officer Gable (Tyler Ross). Gable has just been initiated into the force and is prepping for another day at work when Chief Berringer (Laruen Luna Velez, of “Dexter” fame) pulls officer Gable into her ready room and offers him the chance of a lifetime. Work on a super-secret task force where they backup one of the most ruthless police enforcers in the city. The one, the only, Officer Downe.
Downe is nothing more than a human automaton, basically brought to life from the telekinetic powers of countless men and women under the authority of the LAPD, but with one major caveat. While his body is whole, his mind is fractured and almost dead due to coming back to life so many times. In a sense, he’s Robocop without the cybernetics. Being that Officer Downe is the most feared cop on the streets for OBVIOUS reasons, the local crime mafia known as the Fortune 500 (run by a group of half man, half animal freaks) has decided that our good Officer Downe has to pay the ultimate price. Calling in a supernatural martial arts crime lord known as Zen Master Flash (Sona Eyambe) and his cadre of murderous ninjas, the Fortune 500 is out to even the score once and for all.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=92794[/img]I really wanted “Officer Downe” to succeed, even though I was pretty sure it was going to fail from the get go. I have huge amounts of respect for Canadian actor Kim Coates (whose most famous role was Tig in “Sons of Anarchy”), and his time as a leading man has long been coming. In fact, that was the biggest boon to the movie, as Coates is just having a blast with the role of the killer cop. He eats up the scenery with every line spoken, and his almost “haunted” look that he is famous for fits the role perfectly. The problem is that the film feel like a viral video that just goes on for way too long. Kind of like an SNL skit that works fine in skit form, but once you make it into a feature film you realize there wasn’t as much meat on the bones as you thought.
Part of the blame can be put on director Shawn Crahan, as he edits the film like he’s in the midst of a “Slipknot” music video (of which they do the theme song, as one would have guessed). If I had a way of describing it, I would say that it is a like watching a hybrid of “Robocop”, “Dredd” and “Crank” all rolled into one. Amusingly enough, Mark Neveldine (one of the co-directors/creators of the “Crank” movies) is on board as an executive producer, but it would have been nice to have their experienced hands on the film instead of Crahan. You can tell that he’s kind of imitating their style with the non-stop frenetic movement and lightning quick cuts (and the zaniness of the Graphic Novel’s source material). While “Dredd” and “Robocop” are both iconic hero cop films, and “Crank” has its own cult following, “Officer Downe” only takes ideas from each one, and ends up just stumbling around in the dark with over the top lunacy being the only draw.
Rated R for brutal bloody stylized violence throughout, a strong prolonged sex scene with nudity, and pervasive language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=92802[/img]“Officer Downe” is a highly stylized type of film, with dusky post-apocalyptic colors going on, with lots of neon hues to simulate the lunacy that’s going on in the plot. There’s some pretty weak special effects and facial coloring going on, but this is much more an issue with the budget than anything in the encode. Dim lighting reigns supreme, with one major flaw keeping the picture from looking rather nice. Banding, banding and MORE banding. Honestly that was the worst issue that the film was up against, as the movie OPENS with a giant issue of banding against a blurry white background and just never lets up. There’s some decent detail amidst some digital noise and the dark shadows, but overall the picture is rather “bleh” (partially intentionally).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=92810[/img]The singular 5.1 DTS-HD MA track fares a bit better than the video does, even though it has a few budget related issues as well. The front soundstage is fairly open and clear, giving us some fun little tidbits when the guns start firing. The surrounds get a solid workout with the copious action sequences, and the bass has some pretty intense moments, but all in all it seems a bit “tame” in comparison to higher budgeted films.
• The Making of "Officer Downe
• An Interview with Kim Coates
• Theatrical Trailer for "Officer Downe"
• Trailers for other Magnolia films
“Officer Downe” works OCCAISONALLY, such as the insane battle between the nuns at the very beginning, but the rest just becomes an excuse for excessive language and gore without any guiding purpose behind it. None of the villains seem to be any match for Downe, and the actual efforts at humanizing him turns out fairly laughable (although not as laughable as some of the dialog…ouch). Audio and video are pretty good, but naturally the extras seem to be one to suffer. While I really like what Crahan and crew were GOING for, I have to admit that his efforts really fell far short of the mark, leaving me no choice but to recommend skipping the film.
Starring: Kim Coates, Tyler Ross, Meadow Williams
Directed by: Shawn Crahan
Written by: Joe Casey
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Buy Officer Downe On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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