Cop Land (1997)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Cop Land</strong> (1997)

(Netflix Streaming, August 2015)  It’s funny how time can polish some things.  If contemporary accounts are to be believed, Cop Land earned mixed reviews upon initial release, with a lot of people disliking Sylvester Stallone’s turns as a lumbering town sheriff dealing with a community of crooked cops on his watch.  But seen nearly twenty years later, the film has somehow accumulated a lot of qualities along the way.  For Stallone, his performance here still stands tall as a strong dramatic role, unglamorous and willing to play with the confines of a flawed protagonist.  (Meanwhile, isn’t it awesome to see Robert de Niro not playing a parody of himself?)  The dramatic heft of the crooked-cop themes is pleasant, as is the sense of morally-compromised characters trying to do the right thing even as they don’t understand who’s with them or not.  The premise of a town almost dominated by policemen creates a unique atmosphere, and the film does earn its happy ending along the way.  In short, Cop Land plays a lot better now that it seems to have done upon release, and it holds up as a solid police drama.  …and keep in mind that I seldom say nice things about Sylvester Stallone.

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