The Rookie

Dir: Clint Eastwood, 1990


During the eighties and nineties, actor and director Clint Eastwood’s career seemed to be in a bit of a slump.

Routinely churning out the same old tired cop character, a good majority of his films were just Dirty Harry knockoff’s. This isn’t any different.

Veteran officer Nick Pulovski (Eastwood) is assigned a new partner, David Ackerman (Charlie Sheen), after his old partner is shot and killed by German criminal mastermind, Strom (Raul Julia).

The pair of mismatched cops, turn California upside down to bring Pulovski’s partner’s killer to justice and break up his chop shop operation.

The Rookie could easily pass as Dirty Harry 6. Pulovski is Harry Callaghan in all but name. He’s got the attitude, the disrespect for authority (well, everybody in general, to be honest), a lack of tolerance for regulations and procedures and the witty dialogue.

Charlie Sheen does his usual Charlie Sheen impersonation, as in, that’s the only character he can play. In Wall Street he was a smug little upstart. In this, he’s a smug little upstart. In Two And A Half Men, he’s just older but still as smug.

However, one of the movie’s biggest flaws is the casting of Raul Julia. A rather wooden actor, Julia always delivered his lines in a sleepy, “I’m not interested in this” way. The Puerto Rican actor, cannot shake off his accent in any film. The Addams Family, Mack The Knife, Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, it’s always the same. But, here, he’s German…with a Puerto Rican accent. Occasionally, dropping the odd “zis” into his speech, does not a convincing German make.

By this point in his career, Eastwood was looking his age. His characters were no longer believable, and The Rookie smacks of an old man thinking that he’s still young.

Although there is plenty of action, the high octane nature of the stunts, coupled with Eastwood’s age, brings the film down and renders the movie silly.

Yet, despite the negativity, there is a level of enjoyment to be had. Eastwood still has a likeable charm, as he does in most of his films. The action is daft, but never mundane.

On the whole, The Rookie fills a two hour space of easy and undemanding fare, but is as forgettable as it is inane.


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