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Cop Land (1997)


Copland Poster

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.

Copland Stallone De Niro

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.

Copland Keitel Patrick

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.

Copland Liotta

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.

The Wolverine (2013)


The Wolverine Poster

The Wolverine (2013)

Recently I watched X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) for the first time and this made me more enthusiastic about seeing The WolverineHugh Jackman’s Wolverine has won my vote for best X-Men character.

The Wolverine Hospital Bed

In The Wolverine, Wolverine (Jackman) is summoned to Japan by an aging, old friend whom he saved during the war.  The old man has become very rich and powerful and he wants to repay Wolverine for saving his life so long ago.  However, he may have ulterior motives.  When he reaches Japan, Wolverine becomes caught up in a war between his old friend’s empire and the Yakuza.  Wolverine becomes weakened and for the first time faces mortality.

The film was directed by James Mangold and the rest of the noteworthy cast includes Hal Yamanouchi, Ken Yamamura, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Brian Tee, Will Yun Lee, and Famke Janssen.

The Wolverine Jackman

Some of what I especially liked about X-Men Origins: Wolverine is also what I liked about The Wolverine.  The film was concentrated mostly on the life of just one X-Men character and therefore it was more enjoyable.  You are able to feel more for Wolverine because you get to see his whole story.  There is much more character development than the first 4 X-Men films and this allows the viewer to become more attached to the characters and the problems that they face.  Also, not every single character in the movie was a mutant and that made the ones that were mutants more unique and therefore more likable.

The Wolverine face peel

In comparison to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I felt that The Wolverine was a slight step down.  It was a little bit longer than it needed to be and it lacked the star power.  The supporting cast does do a quality job, but there is not another actor in the film that can compete with Jackman.  X-Men Origins: Wolverine had Liev Schreiber and Danny Huston.  The bad guys in The Wolverine were not bad enough.  They did not have as much of a screen presence.  Jackman dealing with his own mortality was almost more intense than the enemies that he faced.  Don’t get me wrong.  The film was still very fun to watch, but bigger stars could have helped make it more powerful like X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

The Wolverine

Hugh Jackman kept reminding me of a young Clint Eastwood at times throughout the film.  He was a fierce cold-blooded loaner ready to do whatever he felt was right and not caring who got in his way.  Jackman is 2 inches shorter than Eastwood, who is 6’4’’, but maybe it was Jackman’s haircut, facial hair, and attitude that was reminiscent of a middle-aged Eastwood.  The slight resemblance contributed in making Wolverine a helluva bad-ass to be reckoned with.

In my opinion, The Wolverine is the second best X-Men movie to date.  X-Men and action movie fans alike should approve of the quality of the film.  The special effects are sharp, the action is extreme, the characters are entertaining, and the movie as a whole is a blast.

The Wolverine Jackman Train

I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.

Buy, rent, or run?  Buy.

Click on the link below to see a picture and read about the time when my wife and I and some friends got into a fight with Wolverine and Iron Man.

We Got Into a Fight with Wolverine and Iron Man

If you liked The Wolverine, then you should certainly enjoy X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009).