This week, the theme for Wanderer's Thursday Movie Picks Meme is police movies. The idea behind this activity is simple. Each week she picks a theme, and anyone participating has to come up with three movies that fit the established criteria. I've been falling behind on this activity on the past few weeks, but now I'm back in action with a great list. In this case, the topic was suggested by me so it only makes sense that I take part in it somehow. All I have to do is come up with three films centered around the police. Graham Chapman once said that he'd like to see "more fairy stories about the police" but unfortunately I don't have any movies depicting police officers running around with little fairy wands and using magic to solve crimes.
However, I was still able to come up with three action films I have enjoyed that each center around the police. I've tried to cover different types of police films, since they come in several different forms. For instance, I've refrained from including more than one buddy cop film. I've also stuck primarily to films that treat the police in a positive light (as well as trying to find less obvious choices) and I've covered a few different genres including action, science fiction, horror, and comedy. Here are my three choices for police films:
Ghosts of Mars (2001)
A lot of people dislike John Carpenter's first film to be produced in the 21st century, and his last film before taking a decade-long hiatus, returning in 2010 with The Ward, then disappearing again from filmmaking. I actually enjoyed it, crazy as that may sound. It has some strange ideas, but it is a fun action movie and it would count as a police film since it centers around a police unit (although somewhat unusual in that it is a predominantly-female unit working on a terraformed Mars). It does have some interesting action, even if it is a bit campy at times with some weird editing and a rather inaccurate depiction of Mars that probably draws a lot from Total Recall.
S.W.A.T. is a fun movie with plenty of action, and according to IMDB it's actually a fairly accurate depiction of how SWAT teams operate. It was interesting to see the SWAT team front and center for once, seeing as a lot of action movies put them in minor roles or as background characters. Also a nice touch is the fact that we get to see a rare positive image of a female SWAT officer played by Michelle Rodriguez (a lot of movies like to just cast the SWAT team as all-male when they appear in minor roles, Speed being a notable exception). Oh, and one of the villains is played by a young Jeremy Renner (who later went on to become famous for his role as Sgt. First Class William James in The Hurt Locker and Hawkeye in The Avengers).
Hot Fuzz (2005)
Now this one is a classic. Edgar Wright's hilarious satire of 90's buddy cop films (complete with exaggerated homoerotic subtext) is the second installment of his "Cornetto Trilogy" (it was preceded by Shawn of the Dead and followed by The World's End) , but this one is probably the best (though that's only comparatively speaking, the other two installments are also great in their own right). It exploits, spoofs, deconstructs and reconstructs every action movie cliché you can think of, and uses them to its full advantage. Its also fast-paced and loaded with suspense, and one worth seeing a few times just to spot all the different clues and how everything is very carefully set up.