19 March 2020 | view_and_review
I am currently under "shelter-in-place" orders due to COVID19, so you can imagine the very few activities that can be done. Normally, I would go to the gym, or the movies, or bowling, or numerous other activities that I like to do, but now all of those businesses are shuttered. So, now I'm left with my friends Netflix, Amazon Prime, Xfinity, and their sisters plus books. I am not a gamer so that's out.
I decided to torture myself with this movie mainly because I remember watching it as a kid and I remember it being better. A Philadelphia police officer named Alex Kearney (Anthony Edwards) got himself transferred to the Diamond Street District precinct of Philadelphia after he attempted to issue a speeding ticket to a well-known rich guy. Once he got to the downtown police station we got to see all of the stereotypes that go along with inner city/urban/downtown life: plenty of black faces and plenty of crime complete with the new guy getting his car stripped right in front of the police station.
His reluctant partner, sergeant Dennis Curren (Forest Whitaker), was your typical angry Black man. In this case he wasn't angry at the world because the system has been oppressing him, he was angry because of his fear that if he got another partner he would lose that partner and he couldn't handle that. Along with angry-Black-partner was equally angry and boisterous Black captain. He was a walking cliché--shouting out swear words left and right and constantly demeaning and degrading the new kid on the block.
The two partners from opposite sides of the tracks eventually learned to get along so that they could solve the crime of who killed Kearney's partner.
When the movie was comedic it was bearable, when they went serious and dramatic it was unbearable. It's hard to take things seriously when you establish yourself as a comedy then switch things up midstream. It would alternate between these ridiculous scenarios and these serious heart-to-hearts. It is really too bad that the poor dialogue and identity confusion got in the way because the crime mystery aspect of the movie was actually pretty good. If "Downtown'' could have abandoned the overplayed stereotypes and ironed out it's identity issues--meaning deciding that it's going to be either a comedy or drama--I think it had a chance of actually being something worthwhile.