America 2028 Movie Reviews, #8
Also posted at Medium.
Before proceeding to my review of this buddy-cop flick, I need to state that I turned down another movie review opportunity recently. At first glance, the remake of a sci-fi blockbuster from the 1980s did seem intriguing. But out of respect for the source material, I took a pass.
This was not an easy decision. Reviewers of movies in 2028 need to be conscious of how our peers, as well as the nation’s privatized secret police force, could react to such against-the-grain thinking. At the end of the day, though, I needed to remain a purist.
I said no to the review out of love for the original movie, Aliens. Since I have not seen the remake, I can’t fully comment on it. But I will say this: spinning the character Carter Burke as the hero and renaming the movie Burke Bamboozles Biohazard Bosses and Banks Billions of Bucks seems…what’s the phrase…cinematically sacrilegious.
Wait a minute: does sacrilege still in fact exist? With the radiation storms messing with the seasons and Propaganda Czar Donnie Trump, Jr. fiddling with our cultural norms, I have a hard time keeping tabs on the differences between this world and the old one.
Okay. Glad to get that off my chest.
On to my review of Punchy and Kicky: Two Cops on the “Beat”.
The fury-filled, frenetic tale centers around grizzled veteran police officer Punchy and his new sidekick, the eager and limber Kicky.
The movie opens on the going-away party for Punchy’s long-time police partner, Chokey. The balding Punchy and the bald-as-a-cueball Chokey tear up as they reminisce about all the times they punched and choked suspects and random citizens, then covered for each other afterward. They each rant and rave about their dozens of ex-wives. Both agree that the thin blue line of protection can be helpful when spouses and children file charges.
Next, viewers get introduced to Kicky. Uniformed and caffeinated, sporting a flattop haircut, we first see him in the precinct fresh from his latest evidence planting opportunity…er…arrest. (What I just wrote alludes to a running gag in movie. Trust me: it’s hilarious in that “I will sit in my theater chair and laugh profusely so I don’t get labeled an agitator by the authorities” kind of way.)
From the moment he enters the screen, the lanky Kicky never stands still or sits down. Ever. When he isn’t stretching and bending his hamstrings and calves, Kicky plyometrically swings each leg in long arcs through the air, like a Rockette who got slipped LSD or a guy with no arms trying to fend off an armada of muggers. In one scene, he only uses his left foot to beat up this redheaded gentleman. Something I had never seen in a law enforcement flick before.
I should point out that Punchy and Kicky bears some similarities to the ’90s movie L.A. Confidential. But whereas L.A. Confidential seemed to vaguely allude to the coolness and hipness of police brutality, Punchy and Kicky trumpets an emphatic message in full support of excessive use of force by law enforcement officers.
Watching Punchy and Kicky give each other the high-five-low-five after breaking that blonde guy’s jaw, the audience felt their sense of camaraderie. Every buddy-cop movie should effectively express the bond between the partners and this police story does indeed deliver.
That said, I also have to say this: Punchy and Kicky is at its best when the viewer suspends the majority of their expectations when it comes to relying on traditional devices such as plot and character development to grasp the story. Once I realized that the entire movie existed to showcase the latest advancements in special-effects technology, it made so much more sense.
Rumor has it that the production company kicked in an extra $10 million to put towards the special effects in order to ensure that the team could capture each nuance in every one of the thirty-two police brutality scenes—as well as the sequence where Punchy beats up his ex-wife. (I hesitate to call this a “domestic violence” scene ever since the Federal government overturned our nation’s domestic violence laws two years ago.)
Don’t get me wrong: the directors, production team, special effects folks, actors and stunt coordinators did a fantastic job staging such an array of beatings, stranglings, head-buttings and bludgeonings. However, it still took some getting used to, seeing Punchy and Kicky not need any type of excuse to attack a civilian. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I remember the days when cops needed probable cause.
That was my hang-up with the film. Other viewers had their own hang-ups as well. I will share another moviegoer’s insight since I am only one opinion and this other person’s thoughts might be valuable for some readers.
As I exited the theatre, I noticed a man, roughly my age, standing out front of the marquee and wearing a distressed look on his face.
Being the good citizen that I am, I walked up and asked if he was okay.
After a deep breath, the balding gentleman turned and looked at me, eyes wide. “I didn’t know that could happen, the cops only beating up white people, no people of color…seeing this on the big screen…so frightening.”
After a loud laugh, I replied, “My friend, don’t you read the news? A lot of the brown people got rounded up a few years ago. It wouldn’t be realistic for the moviemakers to make a movie where cops are beating up minorities. There simply isn’t that many walking the streets anymore.”
Seeing his confused expression made me laugh again. I squinted my eyes, smirked, then swatted him on the back and, with a snicker, said, “Homie…you didn’t think that the police violence was going to end after the roundup, did you?”
With a wistful nod, the guy said, “Yeah, I guess I did. I guess… I guess I thought that the 1% only hated brown people and they used the police to keep them in line as a service to the rest of us whites.”
After giving him an exaggerated shrug and a few pats on the back, I bid him a good evening and turned to walk down the street.
I only made it maybe thirty feet when a bolt of radiation from the radiation storm hit.
It took me a second to regain my bearings after my ears got assaulted by that thunderous wall of energy while my eyes slammed shut as the street view lit up brighter than daytime.
When I turned around, I saw that the radiation bolt struck the gentleman who I was conversing with just moments before.
He still stood upright, hands on his hips. Only the gigantic beam of energy had melted away every bit of his skin, muscle, flesh and internal organs to leave nothing but a glowing, lime-green skeleton topped off with a grinning skull.
That sight was gnarly, I tell you.
The dude looked like he belonged on the cover of an Iron Maiden album.
Also posted at Medium.
I don’t just write movie reviews from the future. I also write fiction.