LOS ANGELES -- Is the era of the movie supercop coming to an end?
It's a little too early to tell. But with a public appalled by the videotaped police beating of Rodney King and generally cooling toward the "Beverly Hills Cop"/"48 HRS." movie formulas that were popular in the '80s, change is definitely in the air.
Heywood Gould hopes that his feature, "One Good Cop," might point the way toward a more realistic, emotionally believable kind of depiction. A former police reporter for the New York Post, Gould was a staff writer for the acclaimed '60s TV series "N.Y.P.D." and a producer of the later crime fighter series "The Equalizer." His film scripts include "Fort Apache: The Bronx" and "Cocktail."
For "One Good Cop," which is also his directing debut, Gould drew on vast personal resources. He has many friends who have worked for the New York Police Department, including the film's technical adviser, retired detective Ralph G. Nieves.
"I wanted to show the two sides of a cop," Gould said. "The job requires you to be tough and cynical
and hard. The home environment requires that you be sensitive and tender. You have to be both of those things, which is very, very difficult to do. But this is the life that many of these people live."
In the movie, Michael Keaton plays detective Artie Lewis. When his widowed partner Stevie (Anthony LaPaglia) is killed in the line of duty, Lewis and his wife, Rita (Rene Russo), try to adopt Stevie's three orphaned daughters. But Artie doesn't make enough to facilitate a move to the necessary larger quarters. Out of desperation, he knocks over a wealthy drug dealer, unaware that the money he steals is part of a federal sting operation.
Keaton, who was a big hit two years ago as the ultimate cartoon crime fighter, Batman, said, "This movie is 85 percent less bull than, say, 'Lethal Weapon.'"