Kuffs (1992)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Kuffs</strong> (1992)

(In French, On Cable TV, February 2019) I hope that Americans sometime realize the utterly bizarre nature of their law enforcement “system”, with its odd pockets of arcane rules and historical exemptions. So it is that I knew nothing about the San Francisco Patrol Special Police as depicted in Kuffs … and I don’t think that the film makes a very convincing case for its existence. It doesn’t help that this is a film with severe split personality problems, trying both for 1980s violent police action and for fourth-wall-breaking comedy. Christian Slater (near the height of his popularity at the time) often provides comic asides to the camera, sometimes in the middle of otherwise dark and dramatic scenes. Some sequences (talking to the camera while gagged, bleeped swearing, drugged-out sequence, visitors barging in on a shot-out apartment) approach pure slapstick, while much of the rest of the film is dull dark action undistinguishable from countless other movies. The cast can be surprising: Milla Jovovich shows up in a very early film as nothing more than “the girlfriend”, while Bruce Boxleitner is taken out early and Tony Goldwin is playing silly. While Slater does provide the charisma that his role requires, much of the film seems to succeed accidentally rather than by design, so inconsistently does it whiplash from comedy to drama. It really does nothing good to the image to the private law enforcers of San Francisco to be portrayed like Kuffs does.

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