The Mod Squad

"Weak"

The Mod Squad Review


That fact that "The Mod Squad" opens with a dictionary definitionof "mod" appearing on the screen -- altered to include GenerationY hipsters -- did not bode well for the intelligence level to which thismovie was aiming.

The fact that this definition was followed by another forthe word "squad" left me with little hope that the pic wouldhave anything going for it besides 90 minutes of Claire Danes in tummytops.

Then came the opening credits with psychedelically colored,MTV-edited mug shots of Linc (Omar Epps), Pete (Giovanni Ribisi) and Julie(Danes) -- who are convicted juvies working undercover for the LAPD --accompanied by a voice over saying things like "this little girl wasas hard as the come." Claire Danes? Please! She can't even walk toughwithout looking like one shoe is missing a heel.

The latest in a barrage of so-called "classic"TV shows adapted for the big screen, "The Mod Squad" is a realstretch. The 1968-1972 B-grade cop show about three far out delinquentsnarc-ing for the pigs, man, was never exactly quality programming to beginwith (Early Aaron Spelling. Need I say more?), and this feature film doesn'ttry very hard to improve on it.

Directed by Scott Silver ("johns"), the pictureis largely soundtrack over substance and doesn't even bother filling inthe blanks regarding how or why our heroes came to be cops. Instead itrushes to introduce a resolved-in-an-hour, TV-style plot about drugs missingfrom an evidence locker, crooked cops and a couple of low-rent pimps/mobsterswho, by some wild coincidence, each have a connection to Julie, Linc orPete.

When their police department mentor (Dennis Farina) isframed and murdered, the mod squad, which has never been viewed favorablyby the rest of the cops in the precinct, sets out to solve the crime ontheir own, amidst a backdrop of wah-wah guitar action sequence music andthe requisite cop movie running gags.

"I feel like one of us should say 'I'm gettin' tooold for this s---,'" Pete complains, as if acknowledging it somehowexcuses the movie's complete lack of originality or common sense.

My favorite scene is the one in which for no logical reasontwo ski-masked white guys break into Linc's ghetto pad and start shootingup the joint in broad daylight.

The sad thing is, "The Mod Squad" is a wasteof three good, young leads. Danes has already established herself as oneof the better actresses of her generation in varied roles in films like"Little Women," "Home for the Holidays," "U-Turn" and "The Rainmaker." She gets the most character to chew on herewith a sub-plot about a much older ex-lover (Josh Brolin) who comes backinto her life. Their relationship is poorly established and, of course,he must inevitably be one of the bad guys. But Danes makes their rekindlingof believable nonetheless.

Ribisi ("Saving Private Ryan," "TheOther Sister"), as the unhinged clown ofbunch, and Epps ("Higher Learning," "Juice") as thestoic Linc, whose vintage Lincoln Continental gets repeatedly batteredin one of those running gags, share a resentful dodge and parry liftedfrom the "Lethal Weapon" movies, but somehow manage to freshenit up a tad.

But aside from successfully giving his picture an early'70s revivalist air, which seems to be in vogue in crime movies this year("Payback,""TheCorruptor"), Silver has very little tooffer in the way of consistency, ingenuity or flair.

If it looks like a bad '70s cop show, sounds like a bad'70s cop show and has a plot like a bad '70s cop show, what's the pointof making a feature film? Just watch a bad '70s cop show, if you can findone.

Funny thing is, even in a world of 100-plus cable channels,bad '70s cop shows haven't been revived. This movie is a cogent reminderthat there's a good reason for that.



The Mod Squad

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th March 1999

Box Office Worldwide: $13.3M

Budget: $50M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 4%
Fresh: 2 Rotten: 50

IMDB: 4.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Julie Barnes, as Peter Cochran, as Lincoln Hayes, as Captain Adam Greer, as Billy Waites, as Det. Briggs, as Det. Bob Mothershed

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.