The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, December 11, 1990- Page 7
Mr. Mayor makes a cop film Records
dir. Clint Eastwood
by Gregg Flaxman
Just about the only intriguing
thing that happens in The Rookie is
a collision of two planes that looks
conspicuously like last week's acci-
dent at Metro Airport. A Leer jet
chases detectives Nick Pulovski
(Clint Eastwood) and David Acker-
man (Charlie Sheen) across the grass
of Los Angeles International Airport
with the astonishing agility one
might not expect of a 10-ton aircraft.
Ultimately, in pursuit of the cops,
the entire fuselage of the Leer jet is
-torn apart by a landing passenger
' plane. Eastwood's newest film, his
15th as director, consistently aspires
-o this grandiosity. Yet The Rookie
doesn't world on the simplest level.
Ackerman, a rookie on the force
who enjoys "chasing G-rides" (the
grand-theft auto division of police
work), is assigned to work with vet-
eran cop Nick Pulovski. Pulovski's
just lost a partner to the ruthless
Strom (Raul Julia), the leader of an
exotic car chop-shop that we're as-
sured is "the biggest in the south-
land" (I've yet to figure out what
"the southland" is). Now, this old
*time cop is out for revenge. East-
wood's Pulovski embodies the typi-
cal unorthodox cop clich6s: a former
race car driver with no repect for au-
thority, the requisite failed marriage
and taste for whiskey and doughnuts.
Ackerman, for his part, comes
from a wealthy family and police
work is a form of blue-collar rebel-
lion. But underneath, Ackerman is
still repenting for a brother's death.
Shooting people point blank in the
forehead, beating to a pulp 20 bikers
and then lighting their bar on fire,
and driving motorcycles through
doors is some kind of twisted cathar-
sis of which few psychologists
would approve. Nor is the effect of
the brother's death ever elaborated
beyond a dream sequence and Sheen's
overwrought expression that East-
wood the director might have subti-
The violent marriage of these two
cops is, if anything, inane. Both
men remain two-dimensional compi-
lations of conventions and quirks.
Sheen seems unable to gauge his
own emotional pitch, the result be-
ing nothing more than an excessive
yet lackluster performance.
Eastwood, on the other hand,
knows his turf; but there's no
freshness in his Pulovski and the
absurdities of the dialogue and plot
give him little to work with. Both
characters are too underveloped to
ever lend any credibility to the
paternalistic relationship that
Eastwood probably intended. Instead,
the film degenerates into the pursuit
of a villain who's hardly villainous,
whose motivations (apparently
Strom is strapped for cash) are never
explicated, and whose partner (Sonia
Braga) says three lines during the
entire film (none of which could be
Even in past films of some or lit-
tle success, Eastwood has been able
to communicate the essence of his
character, whether it be the tight-
lipped Sergeant of Heartbreak Ridge
or the perverse policeman of
Tightrope. In The Rookie he can-
not do even that. As for the rest of
the cast, they are adequate with the
exception of a Lieutenant Garcia
whose awkward and melodramatic de-
livery becomes simply painful as the
movie wears on. The Rookie re-
solves itself to being nothing more
than violence for violence's sake,
and the only pertinent question it
asks is how many $60,000 cars can
be destroyed in the plus-two hours
that the film takes to be done with
Refugees of the Heart
If the eyes really are the window
to the soul, then it's understandable
that we find Steve Winwood staring
vacantly from the cover of his latest
effort, Refugees of the Heart. The
self-described "moody" follow-up to
his commercial success, Roll With
It, offers overblown background
tracks and skin-deep lyrics, but very
The album's generic tunes blend
into one another until the entire pro-
duction finally degenerates into a
nondescript wash of sound. Only
after the fourth or fifth listen could
the most ardent of fans identify an
individual song. Not much from a
man who at the tender age of 15 was
able to tap his teenage emotions and
wail the moving tale of hormones
gone awry, "Gimme Some Lovin',"
while singing with the Spencer
"One and Only Man," the first
tune from Refugees to receive air-
play, was co-authored by Winwood
and his ex-Traffic mate, Jim Capaldi,
and is the best of the lot. The
uptempo beat and clean sound pro-
vide refuge from the rest of the al-
bum's brooding selections. "Man"'s
lyrics fall flat: "Take you to the city/
Girl we're gonna buy some pretty
clothes/ Dress you up so pretty/
Then we'll take in all the shows."
Is this all Winwood's 40-plus
years on this planet have inspired?
For those of us still wondering
about Winwood's search for "higher
love," "Every Day (Oh Lord)" an-
swers the question. But the song
fails to provide listeners with a vi-
carious religious experience. The
synthesizer solo drags on endlessly;
the vocals mercifully cut it short but
provide nothing we haven't heard -
and grown tired of - already.
Interestingly enough, the album
is packaged with a copy of the First
(freedom of speech) Amendment to
the Constitution. While Winwood's
longtime fans may take offense to
the album, one can only guess
which of his tunes Winwood imag-
ines will outrage Tipper Gore.
Perhaps Refugee's most insight-
ful verse appears in the single
"Come Out and Dance": "Long as
there's a beat I'll hang around/ For
one more round."
Let's hope so. If Winwood ever
decides to dust off his doormat
songwriting and music-making abili-
ties, his melliflous voice could pro-
vide another knockout.
is being shown at
Stevie's looking a little fuzzy in this picture. The fog seems to have
seeped into his brain, clouding his songwriting ability as well.
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