Cop Land (1997)
Cop Land is the first movie that I remember hearing about where an actor or actress severely changed their weight for a part in a film. Sylvester Stallone gained 40 lbs. for his role in the movie. I remember thinking how crazy he was for doing that. 40 lbs. is a lot of weight to gain, and it is a lot more to have to lose again. Now, 16 years later, I realize that it was just Stallone’s awesome dedication to doing what he loves that allowed him to do what was necessary for his role in Cop Land.
The film is about an army of corrupt New York City cops with ties to the mob who buy themselves a chunk of New Jersey. They are virtually untouchable until the sheriff of their little “Cop Land” (Sylvester Stallone) becomes wise to their ways.
The movie was written and directed by James Mangold and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Harvey Keitel, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Michael Rapaport, Annabella Sciorra, Janeane Garofalo, Noah Emmerich, Cathy Moriarty, Frank Vincent, John Spencer, Arthur J. Nascarella, Edie Falco, John Ventimiglia, Robert John Burke, Michael Gaston, Bruce Altman, Tony Sirico, Frank Pellegrino, Vincent Laresca, Victor Williams, Paul Calderon, and Malik Yoba.
They brought in all of the big guns to make this film. The cast list is so staggering that I am sure that I left someone out. You couldn’t ask for a better cast in a movie.
Because of the type of movie Cop Land is, and especially because of the cast, you can expect a lot of violence and language, but mostly, powerful performances.
Cop dramas don’t get a whole lot better than this one. Cop Land is one of those movies that gets better every time that I watch it.
It is interesting because a number of actors in the film were cast against type. Guys who usually play bad guys are now playing cops. But, it works out because some of them are corrupt. So, I guess they are just bad guys with a badge.
It is no surprise that the movie has a bit of a Goodfellas (1990) and The Sopranos feel to it, because a number of the cast members were in those shows. A couple of them were also in the film Beautiful Girls (1996).
With so many great actors in the movie, none of them really stood out over another because they were all acting on the same level.
Overall, Cop Land is a unique, underrated cop drama that packs a big bang. Like a fine wine, it gets better with age.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
When I think of Sylvester Stallone, I think of his characters Rocky Balboa and John Rambo. Balboa is from his 5 Rocky films, beginning with Rocky (1976) and Rambo is from his 4 Rambo movies, beginning with First Blood (1982).
In more recent years, Stallone has gathered together his fellow aging action heroes. They have all banded together to form The Expendables trilogy. The Expendables (2010) started it all. The Expendables 3 is planned to release in the summer of 2014.
It appears as if old age is not going to slow down Sylvester. He is 67 and he continues to make action films. This October he will be trying to break out of prison with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Escape Plan (2013). This Christmas Stallone will be boxing Robert De Niro in the film Grudge Match (2013). The Italian Stallion vs. The Raging Bull. That promises to be a Christmas present worth waiting for. My money is on Rocky.
Click on the links below to read my Sylvester Stallone Movie Reviews:
Happy Birthday to Harvey Keitel! The actor who is probably most famously known for playing Mr. White in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992) turns 74 today. Mr. White has got to be my favorite Keitel character, although he has had a number of other very solid roles. My other favorite Harvey Keitel Characters are:
Winston ‘The Wolf’ Wolfe in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994)
Ray Donlan in Cop Land (1997)
Dad in Little Nicky (2000)
Roy Egan in City of Industry (1997)
Jack Crawford in Red Dragon (2002)
Hal in Thelma & Louise (1991)
I could not stand Keitel as The Lieutenant in Bad Lieutenant (1992). At the time that I watched that movie, it was so bad that I turned it off and didn’t finish it. I never went back and gave it another chance. It was so awful that I don’t think I will ever feel the need to revisit it.
Which of Harvey Keitel’s characters do you like the best and which do you like the worst?