Some interesting things get abandoned for a routine finish
"Paper Bullets" is a more leisurely-paced cop flick, but one that holds your interest for much of the movie. The acting is good all around; even Wincott gives a decent performance. (Too bad Ernie Hudson gets almost nothing to do.)
James Russo is also very good playing the central character, a burned-out alcoholic cop, and one that isn't as sympathetic as you might think. (The scene where he first confronts his ex-wife is an eye-catcher.) In fact, seeing this cop struggling to solve the case under pressure from the department (and from his internal demons) makes the movie surprisingly compelling, despite the fact there is only some sporadic action along the way.
Unfortunately, the movie doesn't bother to stay with this theme all the way through. Near the end, the movie drops this viewpoint (as well as secondary characters and their subplots) and ends things with chases and shootouts around the docks. What's worse is that this action isn't particularly well choreographed and shot - surprising, since the remainder of the movie overall looks pretty decent despite the fact that the budget obviously was low even for a B movie. However, the DVD transfer is pretty poor, so the care taken to make the movie look decent is diminished.
Note to Wincott fans: If you are hoping for some martial arts action from him, you better forget it; not once in this movie does he engage in martial arts, even though there is the opportunity for his character to do so at several points (the most he ever gets to do is throw a few punches.)