Rampart Blu-ray Review
Woody Harrelson is Dave Brown a brutal renegade cop in L.A.’s Rampart Division during 1999. Nicknamed Date Rape Dave, Officer Brown is known for allegedly murdering a known date rapist. While some might find this action heroic, the fact is his unethical and illegal action goes much deeper. RAMPART, however, is about as shallow as you can get.
As a character study, RAMPART builds and reveals on a possibly interesting man. His home life involves two daughters with different mothers. Those mothers, played by Cynthia Nixon (SEX AND THE CITY) and Anne Heche (SIX DAYS SEVEN NIGHTS) are sisters and they all live under one roof. Neither woman seems to be interested in Officer Brown anymore and their daughters are gradually feeling the same disgust. The problem is the more we learn about Dave the worse he gets. At first you might see some grey areas like the fact that someone smashed into his car while he was driving then tried to flee. After someone recorded him excessively beating the guy, Dave catches some heat from the department head played by Sigourney Weaver (GHOSTBUSTERS). Dave may be corrupt but he’s educated and can talk himself out any situation by his legal knowledge. Plus he has some inside help in the form of Ned Beatty (SUPERMAN), whose knowledge and access is never fully explained.
Robin Wright (THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO) plays a lawyer that has little to do other than have one-night stands with Dave. Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) shows up occasionally as someone wanting to clean up the Rampart division. Ben Foster (THE MECHANIC) is a homeless man in a wheelchair and Ice Cube (21 JUMP STREET) is investigating Dave’s most recent bust. All these actors are not utilized well at all. In most cases, it’s as if a character was thrown together just because the actor agreed to be in the film, having virtually no bearing on the already thin plot. So the real question is how did director Oren Moverman (THE MESSENGER) get all these talented actors?
The character and film can be summed up in a single sentence said by Dave’s daughter Helen (Brie Larson), “You’re a dinosaur, Date Rape. You’re a classic racist, a bigot, a sexist, a womanizer, a chauvinist, a misanthrope, homophobic clearly, or maybe you don’t like yourself.”
Woody Harrelson’s performance and the style in which RAMPART was filmed are my only positive notes. But other than that, this film is fairly worthless. With many similarities to Harvey Keitel’s BAD LIEUTENANT (another film I did not like), I think I could argue my grade was too kind as I found the story one not worth telling. The character’s corruptness escalates without closure or purpose. Dave is unlikable and quite frankly boring seeing as RAMPART goes nowhere.
Video: (16×9 2.35 Widescreen) The picture looks nice utilizing darker and off tones that fit for the characters. The cinematography and style in which RAMPART was shot is one of the few positives.
Audio: (5.1 Dolby TrueHD) Dialogue and score are clear and mixed well. Another shining spot for RAMPART is the audio.
Director’s Commentary: Writer/Director Oren Moverman and Cinematographer Bobby Bukowski talk about every aspect possible in making RAMPART. While the commentary might by insightful it struck a dull cord.
Featurette (30:05): The cast and crew talk about making RAMPART, the plot and the characters. This isn’t a typical fluff piece featurette and I if I thought the film was worth a darn I might have found this interesting.