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  • I caught part of this 1973 flick one late night on TNT. I was intrigued because it was supposed to be Peter Hyams' first theatrical effort. So I went out and bought a copy on VHS. At first this film may not seem much. Just an updated version of the old police procedurals from the 1940s and 50s. But after a couple more viewings I was hooked. There's a certain indescribable quality to it (see Walter Hill's "The Driver" and you'll know what I mean). A hang-dog, left coast version of the French Connection. Very laid back, but deadly serious. The viewer feels the same frustrations the Gould-Blake teams feels in the up-hill struggle to rid their beat of society's scum. The duo risks life, limb, and personal and professional humiliation trying to nail the vile crime boss and galvanize indifferent peers/supervisors. Brisk dialogue, thoughtful direction, excellent photography by Earl Rath, sleazy LA locales and a fine cast make this forgotten film a winner. Give it a try!
  • I first saw this in the mid '80s and thought: 'what a stylish thriller!' It seems to have been filmed in a low-grade film stock, which has given it a grainy/soft-focus look which also adds to it's realism. Elliot Gould, who stars as one of the hard-bitten cops also appears in another Peter Hyams opus, Capricorn One. Robert Blake who plays Gould's partner, later featured in his own TV detective series called Baretta.

    There are some wonderful set-pieces in the movie, the best in my opinion involving our heroes chasing some bad dudes from a seedy hotel, and through a supermarket on the streets. It's classic Cat-and-Mouse fare, as the villains take a hostage while Gould 'n' Blake have them firmly in their gunsights. This moment is ingeniously realised by Hyams' use of a wide-angled lens. There are also brilliant car chases galore to marvel at.

    Anyone who is a fan of this type of gritty cop thriller with a downbeat ending, would enjoy another good example: William Friedkin's 'To Live and Die in LA' (1985) which stars C.S.I.'s William Peterson.
  • Elliott Gould and Robert Blake are a surprisingly affable team in this blood-spattered crime-flick written and directed by Peter Hyams, which stays loose and shaggy and doesn't wrap itself up too much in seriousness or pretensions (until the finale). Two Los Angeles vice cops, tired of seeing their prize busts going unrewarded by a police commissioner who is on the take from a sleazy crime czar, use their down-time to shake up the kingpin, whom they are sure is about to pull off a major drug exchange. The leads are a lot of fun, particularly Gould, and Hyams keeps the camera moving-moving-moving until you feel convinced he must have his cinematographer strapped to the back of a motorcycle. There are the usual cheap shots, titillation asides, a blatantly moronic judge, and the proverbial exasperated sergeant who keeps saying things like, "My ass will be in a sling!" Hyams is really tough on Los Angeles, and one might come away from the picture asking: if the police force were so corrupt, wouldn't that be a bigger story than the one we're getting? Still, the combination of good performances, an interesting script, a goofy undermining, and a down-and-dirty scenario makes the movie a rowdy ride with exciting sequences. **1/2 from ****
  • I saw this on the bottom half of a double feature and it quickly became one of my all time favorite obscure movies. The basic plot is nothing special(two vice cops , tired of busting hookers and gay bars, decide on their own to take on the city's vice/drug kingpin) but it is exciting and well made. A couple of action scenes stand out: one involves a chase of drug dealers through a supermarket all done in one long take (like the opening scene in "Touch of Evil") and the second is the final chase between two ambulances(!) that in my opinion is as good as those in Bullit and the French Connection. This is also features Elliot Gould's best performance. One scene in which he is forced to recant his testimony against a prostitute he arrested(because she had 'friends' in the department) and the resulting humiliation and frustration he expresses while being cross examined was very vivid. I don't think this is on video and it rarely plays on tv but it is a well made film that should satisfy action fans and make them think a little too.
  • I was watching a re-run of this one the other day and although I remembered I had seen it before, couldn't help noticing how fresh it still is. This one will surely ruin some fantasies as to what police work really entails, and while over thirty years old, it's quite hard-hitting action-wise,-the one shot down the corridor and staircase-chase scene into the market be testimony, but also extremely dark and complex for this genre in character-development and attention to detail - the crummy apartment scene (loved the ugly cap and crying neighbor's baby - touch), the "how do you spell Rizzo?" -writing on the toilet wall scene, the "Shezam"-scene...and so on. Also the movie score of a time where each movie had a personalized theme other than who knows who's latest MTV hit. Along with "The French Connection", "Cruising" or "To live and die in L.A", this is one of the best character-study of cops ever made by American cinema. And somehow they made it without the explosions and big budget demolition or the inter-racial partner buddy-buddy, always joking, driving Porsche, kissing the supermodel routine, but also without losing humor- the slow-dance in the fag-joint -for instance. Instead they used a little thing called talent and inspiration. Elliott Gould is in top form in this one as ever and really works well with Robert Blake.

    While extremely entertaining action-wise, it also raises some fair questions, like - why do they do it? or -what to do when you know you can't change anything? it doesn't preach and remains extremely human until the end.
  • Busting is a cop show encapsulated, purely episodic in structure as the two vice cop heroes team on various assorted cases, with unstable degrees of success. It's in keeping with the refreshing realism of this period in the film's genre, as it's exceedingly cynical, robustly indicating that crime does pay, and that the biggest criminals in society are dishonest politicians and businessmen who will never be penalized. Were the production not as befuddled and awkward, this rather poorly titled actioner could easily rank among the two French Connections, Bullitt and the Dirty Harry series.

    Against an abrasive cityscape of backstreets and littered alleyways, Elliott Gould and Robert Blake star as vagabond vice squad detectives, the type who in actuality set the judicial system back decades. Elliott Gould, the tall one, incessantly chews bubble gum, ambles somewhat hunched and talks in the manner of someone fashioning himself on the star of an Elliott Gould movie, which is awesome. Robert Blake, an unlit cigarette inexplicably hanging from his lips, behaves like a guy who wishes he were tall and realizes he never will be. It doesn't trouble him, though it makes him a bit less compromising than most guys.

    Gould and Blake inhabit their work lock, stock and barrel. They consume most of their time apprehending people who are more of a perceived threat to society than a real one: call girls, massage parlor staff and gay bar regulars. It's simply what they do to keep the wheels turning, like road cleaners. It's one of the existential quirks of Busting that when the vice boys do get mixed up in their work, when they find themselves pursuing the Mr. Big accountable for the considerable multi-million-dollar L.A. rackets in addition to the trivial ones, they get thumped, both by the crooks and by their Police Department superiors who may, it would seem, stand for the posture of the society whose protectors they are: The action sooner or later gets around to charging Allen Garfield, cast as a local peer of the realm, with practically all illegal goings-on in town. Garfield, as ever an exceptional actor, brings poise and a sense of being wholly together to the role.

    As bemused as the Philip Marlowe Gould interpreted a year before in Altman's brilling Long Goodbye, this 1974 film was the first film by Hyams. His aptitude as a director is more apparent in this film than in any other he's done perhaps, especially in the visual highlights and in the performances. I have an idea that that the qualities of Gould and Blake, instead of the screenplay, are answerable for the distinctness provided the roles. They try a bit too hard for idiosyncrasy and funny habit, nonetheless they're effective at establishing particular characters.

    Hyams engineered something of an achievement by crafting a rough cop film sans taking advantage of the right-wing scorn that warns us all to arm ourselves. I.e., it recognizes that when cops and robbers are firing guns at each other in open places, the lookers-on aren't impervious to the bullets. When Gould and Blake chase some heroin pushers through a supermarket in a continuous gunfight, the movie shares the panic of the bystanders to the extent that it does the tension of the pursuit. It's this plane of alertness that secedes this possibly pioneering buddy cop picture from the subsequent second-hand goods in marketeering mockery of the genre that was given that healthy dose of gritty reality in the 1970s, not only by transcendent pictures like The French Connection and classics like Dirty Harry, but even bargains like Busting.
  • Peter Hyams' debut movie is a forgotten movie jewel from 1973. It's a typical early seventies cop and action thriller about two police officers (Elliott Gould and Robert Blake) hunting a mafia boss and finding out that the villain is co-operating with police officials.

    Blake and Gould (who is incredibly "groovy" looking) are giving fine performances in this dirty little picture. They are doing raids in whore houses and gay bars, they are beaten up by gangsters and often use their guns to get what they want. Their characters are not far away from those of Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider in "French Connection" which has clearly influenced the settings, tempo and plot of this movie.

    Some high points of "Busting" next to the main actors are the funky, Lalo-Schifrin-style sound track and a big showdown between the cops and a bunch of gangsters in a shopping mall battered with people. You can alos find those certain hints of conspiracies and paranoia all over this movie that became benchmarks for later Peter Hyams films such as "Capricorn One", "Outland", or "Star Chamber". Watch this incredible seventies movie, you won't regret it!
  • Elliott Gould ("MASH", 'E/R', etc..) and Rob Blake ( "Baretta", murdering scumbag, etc..) are two vice cops whom after losing a prostitute's bust (pun intended) thanks to her knowing the right people, and geting slapped, bitten, and hair-pulled in a gay bar, decide to go after made-man Rizzo (the boss of Mother, Jugs & Speed himself, Allen Garfield). Pretty much your typical '70's cop action yarn, but the chance to see the great Sid Haig in action, even in a minor part, is always great. And seeing Fat Rolly, I'm sorry I mean Micheal Lerner, I've been watching too much Starsky & Hutch reruns, as a seedy owner of a porn shop is fun as well.

    Where I saw It: Showtime Extreme

    My Grade:B-

    Eye Candy: Jackie (Cornelia Sharpe-breasts and Buns), unknown erotic dancer shows breasts and buns as well

    Best Line: "Hey mom, hey dad, how're you? I'm fine, a fag bit my leg"- Elliott Gould
  • Gee… doesn't the 70s have some cracking crime thrillers… some of these even fall in the cracks, which this one undeservedly does and in which case I would put it down as one of the best the decade had to offer. Writer / director Peter Hyams' debut feature "Busting" is an excellently pitched comedy thriller with outstanding performances by Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as two Los Angeles vice squad officers Michael Keneely and Patrick Farrel who rage a war against a well-respected crime kingpin Carl Rizzo (Allen Garfield), but also find themselves fighting corruption inside the force for their constant harassing of Rizzo. There they decide if it means doing things outside the book, well they'll do it to get their man.

    The surefooted plot might seem dated and rather routine (frustrated cops battling criminals and the law, in which they feel like they are fighting a lost cause), but the innovative script is constantly witty / stinging in its observations (that especially goes for its downbeat, but ironic conclusion) and the chemistry between Gould and Blake simply ignites. The narrative seems to be strung together by sporadic plot threads, but there's a certain awkwardness to its cynical approach that just makes it so odd. The interchanges between the two cops and also with Garfield are bitingly dry, but enjoyably so. While there's a playful tongue-in-cheek style, it can be exhaustingly aggressive (you know the brutality featuring red paint) and edgy. Hyams skilfully stages the lean action with gritty, but frenetic authenticity as the bombastic score kicks in. Watch how the camera-work always instinctively moves around, like it has a mind of its own by following the action with numerous tracking shots. Just look at the relentlessly thrilling market store shootout / chase. Earl Rath does a hypnotic job behind the camera. Hyams keeps it snappy and makes great use of the grungy urban setting and seedy strips that really do bring the film to life. The cast are fantastic in their roles. Garfield reeks of confidence and the support features the likes of William Sylvester, Logan Ramsey, Michael Learner, Antonio Fargas, Corbelia Sharpe and the dominating Sid Haig as Rizzo's bouncer.

    "Gotta stay alive man. Gotta stay alive."
  • This was Peter Hyams directorial debut and he does show some of the elements that would later make him a very good filmmaker. Elliott Gould and Robert Blake play two vice cops who are tired of they're job until they try and bust a hooker (Cornelia Sharpe) and are told that she has connections with a local mob boss (Allen Garfield) and because of that she won't be prosecuted. So then they decide to check him and his operations out. What I think hurts the film is that its so predictable and its just another cop film from the seventies. Nothing that special. Gould and Blake use the usual cop banter when they talk and then there is the obligatory scene with Gould in his rundown cheap apartment. Every cop film has this scene. Of course the Sgt in charge of them keeps telling them both he's heard complaints about them and you have to have at least one car chase. There is one impressive scene and its where they chase three bad guys out of a building and into a supermarket. Its done in one continuous shot and its accompanied by an effective piece of music. Its a very well done scene and very well choreographed. The same music is heard during the ambulance chase scene. Football player Carl Eller has a scene where he beats up Gould and how about Blake calling Garfield "Spanky"! Hyams would later direct better films than this and while this film does have some decent moments (Like Gould on the stand!) its still not up to par with a lot of the cop films of the seventies.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Busting" is a satire disguised as a hard-boiled thriller that depicts the daily miseries and frustrations of L.A. Vice Squad police officers Keneely (Elliot Gould) and Farrel (Robert Blake) deprived of a social life--see the apartment and the dry living condition of Keneely--and a decent salary that makes arrogant "nouveau riche" big shot Rizzo (Allen Garfield) laugh at (to avenge, they burn Rizzo's fancy car during his birthday party in a grand restaurant), hence both Vice Squad cops' rage and anger to catch him in the act and send him to jail. Keneely and Farrel are sick and tired of the absurdity of their job that lead them to a dead-end: their superiors are corrupted (see the intercourse with their chief in a dark office). Both cops curse to unwind and are obliged to transgress the law to enforce it and they foresee a character as Travis Bickle from "Taxi Driver". The moral of the film is that society is rotten in all directions and at every levels. The film offers a desperate sarcastic tone with some flourished language (see the juicy dialogs). The look is gritty, realistic, raw, naturalistic. Thanks to director Peter Hyams, it features a great pace and contains solid action scenes (among other things: the supermarket's gunfight, the ambulance chase) that give it a documentary stamp. Besides, composer Billy Goldenberg's colorful and distorted score (with echo a la Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew") perfectly fits the style of the story: streetwise, suspense-laden, terse, low-key, hectic, funky, furious, chaotic and slick. It is a pessimistic painting of the urban society, full of freaks and danger: a masseuse from a sex-shop, a nude dancer from a sex nigh-club, fags and drags from a private bar, call-girls and hookers, pimps, hustlers, thugs, gangsters, hired-killers, liberal lawyers that defend criminals, crooked officials of the State. And the worst thing, you burst to laugh at this terrible vision. The ending encapsulates the plight of Keneely who announces his job's change throughout a freeze frame of his face. In today's mentality, this film can be classified as politically incorrect because of the "direct" language and the depicted methods. I file "Busting" with the top 1970's cop and robber films: "Dirty Harry", "Magnum Force", "The Getaway", "The French Connection", "The Seven-Ups", "Charley Varrick", "The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three".
  • Waiting2BShocked1 January 2011
    Gould and 'Our Gang' regular Blake play a couple of vice cops who give up on the rest of their lazy and thick-headed department and decide to go about cleaning up the streets single-handedly (come on people, Eastwood, Friedkin and Michael Winner had already done their stuff). Enter every crime/sleaze caricature imaginable, and in 70s gear to boot.

    Hyams' first feature is a very straight-faced but contemporarily 'hip' outing, which here and there seems inevitably hilariously dated in its trappings and social mores now, but also doesn't stray too inconsequentially from the tested 'buddy movie' formula. It's got a fine cast and Hyams' action style certainly won't disappoint fans of his later work.

    In terms of violence, there is certainly a not-inconsiderable brutality quotient, but I don't know whether I was getting the complete picture in this BBC print, as the BBFC website indicates that 30-odd seconds (of what, not specified) were originally cut for both Cinema and Video.
  • Talk about a movie that has aged well, despite being over four decades old. There is so much going on, and Elliot Gould and Robert Blake play off each other so well, I didn't even notice, or for that fact care, that they drive 70s "land yachts", and dress "mod". "Busting" is greatly enhanced by our two rogue vice cops constant sarcasm and wise cracking, mostly at Allen Garfield's expense. I would have to say that Gould's performance here easily equals his terrific acting in "The Silent Partner". The film is full of interesting characters, with Michael Lerner as a porno shop owner the standout. As buddy cop movies go, "Busting" is one of the best. - MERK
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Busting" is the kind of movie that came along on the heels of "Dirty Harry" and "The French Connection." Sadly, it has none of the creativity or entertainment value of those two films. The plot reeks of Dullsville and predictability, no point in trying to discover anything new. Elliott Gould was a fairly big star in his day and a capable actor. He made better movies than this. Robert Blake was merely the star who never was and whose career would decline rapidly by the end of the decade. It's strange how a theatrical trailer can be presented in such a way, that one might feel compelled to believe the film has some merit! Loads of noise, graphic violence and sleazy-looking photography can't disguise a lousy script and uninspired direction. The ending was pretty downbeat but I didn't give a fast buck, quite honestly.
  • Elliott Gould had ups and downs in his career, for me underrated actor, maybe for to be an eccentric and weird actor, a sort of ugly duckling among the majors stars, nevertheless was yawning gift man, along the seventies he made many movies as top billing, on Busting he plays a shifted cop with his partner Patrick Ferrell (Robert Black before Baretta successful series), the opening act at dental clinic with dazzling girl Jackie Faraday (Cornelia Sharp) is resounding sequence, in a bold naked scene, later they got caught her in act of prostitution, they got her appointment book with several powerful customers of Los Angeles's high society, which simply disappears from nowhere of the precinct's storage, their Chief always pushing them to withdraw the charge against the high class call girl Jack Faraday from superior orders, they know that the mobster Rizzo (Allen Garfield) is the owner of many enterprises at underworld, night clubs, massage parlor, boxing fights and of course a drugs dealer, by contrast they make Rizzo's life unbearable, hoping a proper time to grab him receiving drugs, the duo cop exposes the rotten side of the police institution at long standing tradition has been bribed by all sort of conveniences, honest cops are nudged to make worst and degrading as stake out public bathrooms, mid cult movie what amaze me deeply, an unusual picture from the forgotten Elliott Gould!!


    First watch: 2020 / How many: 1 / Source: TV-DVD / Rating: 8
  • It has been said that this film provided some inspiration for the cop show "Starsky and Hutch." Well in my opinion, there is a lot more entertainment value in an episode of that particular TV programme compared with the above movie. "Busting" is completely predictable and routine, nothing about the production stands out in any way. There may be the usual car chases and gun play but they were only added for the sake of it. The plot (if you can call it that) is non-existent and the downbeat ending doesn't exactly help. Elliott Gould was a good leading man in his day and made a few good films. "Busting" isn't one of them. His fellow lead Robert Blake doesn't have much to contribute. His career would grind to a halt by the end of the decade and is hardly remembered today. I won't be watching this movie again for quite some time.
  • God I hate this film, no coherent plot, lousy direction, a poor script, hardly any action and a downbeat ending to boot. Elliott Gould and Robert Blake have done far better films than "Busting." Both actors are wasted here. It's become a well worn theme of the "buddy cop" movies but episodes of "Starsky and Hutch" are better - and I do enjoy that show a good deal. Watch this only as a curiosity and no more.
  • I would not waste my time writing a review, werent it for the presence of Elliot Gould and director Peter Hyams (debut). Both have made great classics. This is definitely not one of them.

    The story is boring, without ANY surprises: 2 cops try to nail a drug boss. That's it. A lot of drug busts, surveillance in a toilet, more drug busts and a chase. All looking cheap and terribly dated.

    There are some great detective cop movies from the seventies, but I only write this review to warn everybody this is not one of them. Watch something else instead: a great performance in a REAL detective classic with Elliot Gould in "The Long Goodbye" (1973). In that classic Gould is truly COOL. In "Busting" however, he simply looks silly and not credible for a minute. It cant be coincidence that Busting was released a year after "The Long Goodbye" had become a success. "Busting" definitely has the intention of simply cashing in on Elliot's Gould succes in "The Long Goodbye". "Busting" is not the end of the world, but everything about it, feels cliche, cheap and uninspired, certainly when compared to the great detective classic "The Long Goodbye" (1973).
  • "Busting" is a decent cop comedy / drama that stars Elliott Gould and Robert Blake as vice detectives Michael Keneely and Patrick Farrel. They're just two of many cinematic cops that pattern their style after "Dirty" Harry Callahan: they make their own rules, and often drive their superiors right up the wall. They're extremely determined to bust Carl Rizzo (Allen Garfield), a very well connected crime kingpin who proves hard to take down.

    This fairly stylish and amusing movie marked the theatrical writing / directing debut for Peter Hyams, a former CBS newsman. Hyams went on to create entertainments such as "Capricorn One", "Outland", and "2010: The Year We Make Contact". Here he fashions a reasonably gritty movie that works mostly because Gould and Blake are an interesting pair. They're believable as these rather unorthodox partners. "Busting" also benefits from Garfields' solid performance, because Rizzo is a smooth and confident type, convinced that he's untouchable; he goes so far as to give the detectives permission to come after him. There's also the occasional bit of titillation for viewers, and some grisly violence. The major action set pieces - a foot chase that leads through a supermarket, a final vehicular pursuit - are capably done, thanks to stunt gaffer Hal Needham. Some viewers, however, may be put off by the brief section of the movie that focuses on homosexual stereotypes.

    Fortunately, there is some character defining dialogue at select points that prevent Gould and Blake from ever becoming total cartoon characters. Gould has an amusing character quirk in that Keneely is almost always seen chewing bubble gum.

    Fun enough for cop movie fans, with a cast of familiar faces that includes Antonio Fargas, Michael Lerner, Sid Haig, William Sylvester, Logan Ramsey, Richard X. Slattery, and Cornelia Sharpe. Actress Margo Winkler, wife of co-producer Irwin Winkler, plays Rizzos' wife.

    Six out of 10.
  • Prismark101 December 2016
    Directed by Peter Hyams, Busting apparently inspired the television show Starsky & Hutch. It was released at a similar time as Freebie and the Bean which was commercially more successful but Busting is more tighter, coherent and cynical picture that still retains elements of its comedy.

    Keneely (Elliott Gould) tall, laconic and chews gum all the time and Farrel (Robert Blake) shorter and tougher are two LA vice cops who spend most of their time arresting hookers and people in gay bars rather than than the big crime lords who they feel are being protected by their superior officers and cynical lawyers.

    They decide to go all out to catch the local crime lord Rizzo (Allen Garfield) which annoys their superiors who prefer they go after the small fry.

    The film has a comedic and anarchic tone but beneath the cynicism it also has a heart of two cops trying to do the right thing and not happy with just fitting up hookers and their clients.

    There are thrills as well with well staged shootout sequences in a market and later in a hospital. The film is a softer and sarcastic edged version of The French Connection featuring elements of a buddy cop duo and a message that crime does pay.