Why Cop Land (Director's Cut)?
To be honest I never saw the theatrical cut so I cannot attest as to whether the quality of that version is on par with the director's cut. However I can tell you that the director's cut is a downright masterful piece of film making. From what I can see it's appreciated now as on Rotten Tomatoes it holds a 71%. According to an interview with Stallone the movie ended up hurting his career:
Stallone stated on the Opie and Anthony Show in 2008 that the film "hurt" his career, and that he had trouble getting roles for eight years, due to the film's failure and the mix of views on whether he was leaving action movies for more character-driven content. Stallone has described this as "the beginning of the end, for about eight years". - Wiki.
It's pretty much the general consensus that Stallone is remembered for his roles in Rocko and Rambo and those pretty much define his acting career. Personally I thought both films were good (though all the Rambo sequels sucked). Anyhow, I view Cop Land as being horrendously overlooked because, to me, it is hands down Stallone's best performance and I consider it his career defining film. When someone mentions a Stallone film I think to myself about Cop Land before any other film, no lie.
So what's the plot?
Sylvester Stallone stars as Freddy Heflin, the sheriff of a place everyone calls "Cop Land" - a small and seemingly peaceful town populated by the big-city police officers he's long admired. Yet something ugly is taking place behind the town's peaceful facade. And when Freddy uncovers a massive, deadly conspiracy among these local residents, he is forced to take action - and make a dangerous choice between protecting his idols and upholding the law. - DVD Case
So why should I watch it?
First and foremost is the acting and the cast. Stallone is acting opposed to some real stars here. Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Ray Liotta are probably the three most people will agree are superb actors and I can assure you that all of them are excellent. The most incredible thing is that even acting with such high quality stars Stallone not only manages to hold his own but actually gives a highly memorable performance. He's not the action vehicle he's most famous for in this. For his role he put on weight and spends the most of time looking like shit with a broken nose.
In addition to the great principal cast there are plenty of memorable faces playing supporting roles and bit parts:
Robert Patrick, of Terminator 2 and X-Files fame
Janeane Garofalo (who does admirably as a deputy sheriff)
Arthur J. Nascarella from The Sopranos
Edie Falco also from The Sopranos
John Spencer from The West Wing
Hell even Method Man has a small role.
Also, if you look really carefully, one of the cops who restrains a paramedic at the beginning is the same guy who played the CIA assassination instructor in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind has a brief role. Anyhow, what I'm trying to say is that this film has a strong cast from top to bottom.
With that said it's directed by James Mangold who's certainly become an accomplished director. He's got Girl, Interrupted, Walk the Line and the remake of 3:10 to Yuma under his belt now so I think Cop Land warrants a rewatch on that alone. Flat out is a superb film about police corruption and if you haven't seen this movie see it.
How do you rank it doctor 7?
Currently it sits in my top tier on Criticker so I'd give it a 10/10.
Without a doubt this is my favourite Stallone movie. I consider it better than the original Rocky or Rambo. Here we have a stellar cast: De Niro, Ray Liotta, Harvey Keitel and Robert Patrick. Stallone is the star and you'd think he'd be completely out of his league but not only does he manages to hold his own against other great actors but he actually really, really shines. This is an excellent slow-paced thriller that's definitely not standard Stallone action-fare. Must see for sure.
Criticker Review Link
Previous Overlooked Films:
The Big Hit (8/10) | Citizen Duane (9/10) | Lake Placid (8/10) | Leatherheads (8/10) | Open Range (9/10) | Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (7/10)