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After the underwhelming box office pull of the not-so-sure-fire hit Zach and Miri, Kevin Smith bounces back with a movie outside of his comfort zone that’s not only not his own writing, but barely even his usual genre.

 Cop Out
James ‘Jimmy’ Monroe (Bruce Willis) and Paul Hodges (Tracy Morgan) are two long time buddy detectives who despite their chief’s instructions are still pursuing a case that they’ve got their teeth into. In the meantime Jimmy is facing the humiliation of not being able to pay for his daughter’s wedding, and when his only chance of raising the cash (selling a rare 1952 Andy Pafko baseball card) is stolen, the two dicks have plenty to sort out and not very long to do it in.

Right let’s get to the point quick with this one. On first viewing Cop Out barely feels like a Kevin Smith movie at all. Ten per cent of it does (mainly in the gags), but the rest feels like a homage to eighties cop comedies much akin to the first Beverly Hills Cop (minus the bigger action scenes). There’s nothing wrong in all that, and despite the feeling that the joy of a genuine Kevin Smith movie may now be a thing of the past, Cop Out winds up being a fun, feel good, consistently humorous romp with both Willis and Morgan fronting the whole affair as two likable cops.

On second viewing (and on this my third look at the flick) I can feel Kevin Smith a whole lot more in the movie. Small nuggets of dialogue in the heavier plot elements are spiced up with his comic sensibilities, and Bruce Willis—though playing his usual autopilot likeable self—actually does a great job at delivering lines with a Kevin Smith ring to them.

 Cop Out
Unfortunately everything outside of Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan scenes (namely the bad guy elements) are almost entirely devoid of character and are so painfully clichéd they can sometimes outweigh the good stuff and slip the movie into very boring territory, especially in the second half.

I’m not meaning to bad mouth Kev here when I call Cop Out a bit of a let-down. I am and have been a big fan of the fat guy who made Clerks since, well Clerks—listening to his weekly podcasts, always enjoying his movies, and generally finding the guy a refreshing character in an industry that seems scared to have an opinion or a genuine personality.  I call Cop Out a let-down because I just feel that Kev could have made it more his own given the opportunity. Zack and Miri obviously knocked his confidence (and probably limited his options) and this project sort of feels like the Hollywood system is swallowing up a director with his own voice and filtering it for the masses (which honestly loses the charm of this writer/director).
 
At the end of the day Cop Out is a fun but forgettable romp and if anything it has let Kevin Smith hide behind a big studio logo while he plays in a bigger sandbox. Experience wise, this movie could prove to be Kevin Smith’s gateway drug to bigger and brighter thing but something tells me if more semi faceless Kevin Smith movies like this follow, his core audience might start to look elsewhere in the ever widening comedy spectrum.

 Cop Out

Video


Despite a few grittier scenes, Cop Out generally looks good. Bright colours, glowing skin tones and with a bright mostly daytime setting, the transfer makes for a pretty looking movie. Skin textures look great and details like clothing, gravel and foliage all show off the HD elements.

Darker scenes are where it gets a little iffy, with the sharpness dropping out, details not really holding a candle to the brighter scenes and much of the frame looking a little too blue. Black levels also suffer quite a bit (though not as much as a lot of other reviews out there seem to highlight—at least not in my view) but when you compare the overall look of Cop Out to other Kevin Smith movies it’s a hell of a step up visually, especially in regards to managing to fit in with the big blockbuster crowd.

 Cop Out

Audio


The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 is a pretty bog standard track despite the surrounds and bass being used well for gun shots. Try as it might to not appear as one, Cop Out is still a Kevin Smith film so the much of the focus is on clear, crisp dialogue and the odd song selection, which are all presented well.

There’s the odd highlight with smashing glass, crashing cars and the unloading of bullets but this really this is quite a flat track especially if you compare it to other buddy cop movies out there and honestly you’ll feel it.

Extras


Say what you want about the movie, the Maximum Comedy Mode is worth the price of admission alone if you’re a Kevin Smith fan. This Blu-ray platform was made for Kev and after the good but under used Maximum Movie Mode on Watchmen (seriously that could have been amazing) and the pretty useless ‘I don’t think I want to hear your thoughts after I saw the movie, McG’ Maximum Movie Mode’ on Terminator Salvation, we finally get to see a director harness the power of this cool beans Warner Brothers special feature and frankly it’s a blast.

 Cop Out
Essentially it’s all the usual Kevin Smith DVD goodness (deleted/alternative scenes, introductions, commentaries, gags, and lots of talking) all rolled into a massively enjoyable pop up video track (which is a phrase that honestly doesn’t do it justice) that expands the movie from a slightly overlong one hour and forty seven minutes to a whopping two hours fifty five minutes (which even has a handy facility for remembering where you left it so you can come and go at your viewing pleasure).

Kev has oodles of fun with the freedom Maximum Comedy Mode provides and throws more laughs at you than the movie provides. His comments on scenes, the movie business, the Blu-ray format and everything else is exactly the stuff that makes Kevin Smith so damn awesome and frankly the introduction to the feature alone is probably the most exciting a Blu-ray feature is ever gonna get and for the first time made me think about what the HD format could and should be offering to the audience, though honestly it’s hard to think of anyone who could do as good a job as Kev.

Also accessible either during the Maximum Comedy Mode (or separately from the main menu) are around twenty minutes of Focus Points and a few nuggets of wisdom from the Shit Bandit (Sean William Scott). These are more traditional making of segments focusing on things like the change of title and on-set tomfoolery and are a nice addition to an already great feature.

 Cop Out

Overall


Cop Out may well just be the movie that got Kevin Smith back on the horse after Zack and Miri slumped as opposed to a more usual outing but it’s a solid enough flick even if it does meander a little bit in places—thanks largely to Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan (yes, there is someone else in this buddy bop double act—not that the UK art work wants us to know that) and the high level of chuckles.

The disc rocks in the extras department with Maximum Comedy Mode setting a new standard in fun features and despite doing nothing special, the disc looks and sounds fine. I honestly doubt Cop Out is going to break in new Kevin Smith fans but with the extras on this disc it sure as shit caters to the already converted.

* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.


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