I am guessing that Rampart is going to be one of the “critics darlings” of 2012, but other than a good acting performance by Woody Harrelson, I really didn’t like it that much. The movie focuses on a troubled cop in the LA Police Department during the midst of the Rampart scandals in the late 1990s, specifically 1999. The LAPD is cracking down on dirty cops, and bad behavior that might have usually been overlooked in the LAPD is brought to the forefront.
David Brown (Woody Harrelson, Friends with Benefits) is one of the officers drawing more attention than usual at the LAPD. His nickname at the station is “Date Rape,” because he allegedly killed a suspect a few years back who had been date-raping women. David finds himself in another situation, too, where he stalks a group of guys who were fleeing a crime scene – a robbery at a grocery store – and he shoots the suspects and tries to pass it off like they were shooting at him first. Basically, David is not the best cop around; however, he claims that anyone he has hurt was bad and deserved it. David’s home life isn’t much easier. He lives with two sisters (Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City 2, and Anne Heche, Cedar Rapids) who each have a child by him, and now they’re sick of David and want him to move out.
Rampart has many recognizable faces in it besides Harrelson, including Sigourney Weaver (Abduction) and Ice Cube (Lottery Ticket) as two of David’s superiors, and Cynthia Nixon and Anne Heche as the “sister wives,” so to speak, though it’s never made clear if David ever married either of them. The script moves slowly, almost languidly, as we see David make wrong choices in almost all of the situations in which he ends up. He also has an affair of sorts with a lawyer, Linda (Robin Wright, Moneyball), though that ends badly as well. I usually like movies based on true events, because I either have knowledge of the events beforehand or the movie prompts me to research them, but the story in Rampart is actually more of a side story or a companion plot to what was actually going on in the department at the time.
No, don’t see this film. It almost seemed twice as long as its 108 minute runtime, and even though Harrelson gives a great performance, it’s not enough to save the movie. There are a lot of good actors in the movie, but unfortunately, when a script is this convoluted, even the most superb performances couldn’t make this a “Maybe” pick.
Rampart is in theaters today, March 9th, and is rated R with a runtime of 108 minutes.
Rating: 2 stars out of 5