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2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
First I have to admit I am a big fan of Woody Harrelson and respect the diversity of the films he has contributed to but this is an odd one. I nearly went to see this at the Cinema and am quite glad I didn't, mainly because I know my wife would not have lasted the distance. It is a character study of an unpleasant cop Dave Brown who's life unravels after he is filmed beating a motorist. The things I do like about the film is the way it plays with racism. Dave is branded a racist for the attack after a motorist crashes into his car and tries to flee but you get the feeling the motorist would have got a beating whatever colour he was. Dave has a black Chief who seems to respect him and is happy to sleep with a black woman he picks up in a bar. This is left unresolved as are many other threads in the film. I am all for untidy endings but this just seems to run out of steam. The fact I do want to know more is a testament to Harrelson who is excellent even managing to give a deeply unpleasant character some humanity. The supporting cast are under used but solid and the pace is quite slow. If you are into action thrillers this will not be your sort of film but if you like films that make you think this could be for you.
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VINE VOICEon 7 June 2012
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Another movie about a cop being bad but thinking he is doing the right thing. Based around a real event, the 'Rampart Scandal' - which I was unfamiliar with and the film didn't really make it clear what the scandal was all about - Woody Harrelson plays 'Daterape' Dave Brown who is the type of cop the authorities want to seen thrown off the force. He wanders about the place looking forlorn, tries to outsmart the lawyers by being cleverer than them, and has an unconventional home life where he seems to live with his two ex-wives (who might have been sisters) and his two daughters - one from each wife.

The movie is rather vague and noirish in the way it tells the story of Dave's descent into oblivion. It was scripted by James Ellroy whose own books deal with a similar theme but are far superior to this movie. For me it had a similar feel to 'Driven' in the rather loose story telling format but it ultimately felt hollow and without substance.
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This is a film that the screenplay was co-written by James Ellroy of `La Confidential' `Blood is a Rover' etc. Yes he has his own style and yes he is a demi god amongst his fans, but quite often the allure, sleaze and passion that his books effervesce can not be transferred to the screen, as in `Black Dahlia' and this can be accused of the same flaws.

It stars Woody Harrelson as Dave Brown, chauvinistic, violent, renegade, bad boy cop. He sees himself as doing societies `dirty work' and uses one line quips to justify his ways to fellow officers, like `illegal is just a sick bird'. He is also living with his ex wives who are sisters and both have daughters from him, who are also living under the same, powder keg of a claustrophobic roof. Then he goes off the deep end and beets the heck out of a guy who has crashed into his patrol car and legged it. This is all conveniently caught on camera by a film crew rather reminiscent of Rodney King.

Then he comes under the scrutiny of the Internal Affairs and his nick name of `Date Rape Dave' comes back to haunt him as he is alleged to have killed a known date rapist in questionable circumstances. His drinking and womanising then go off the scale as his career and life begin to fall apart, but he still has friends and options.

A lot of people did not like or enjoy this film, but I found it to be compelling. It has a plethora of stars including Sigourney Weaver, Ice Cube and Steve Buscemi but they have very little screen time so do not really get the chance to have too great an impact, it is Harrelson who carries the whole thing and I feel he does for a majority of the time. He comes across convincing as the silver tongued, albeit some what tarnished, lothario, who prefers liquor to food and violence to reason, despite being more than capable of intelligent discourse.

Where this falls down will be the ending which left me feeling slightly cheated, but if this were a book then I would have had differing feelings, and there lies the rub with Mr Ellroy, he always has his characters larger than life but strangely compelling and that is exactly what we get here. The music is rather good too having been done by Dickon Hinchliffe of `Tindersticks' fame. There is not very much action either so some of the criticisms from that perspective are understandable. However, this is far from being a bad film, but it will not be seen as classic or cult and from the noir perspective, it falls short too but I still liked it hence my rating.
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on 13 September 2014
Sick, damned, violent and hopeless cop movie. It's not the first time we see films like that, and i must say it's not the best i've seen. But Woody is grand and the director knows how to convey the spiral descent down to hell. A hell of the mind, of the moral and the body, in a hellish town. Probably not as perfect and tied up as the director's previous movie (also starring Woody harrelson): The Messenger
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on 8 June 2013
Foreword: If you want to see a cop film with car chases and bang bang action scenes, please look elsewhere. Also if you're looking for Zombieland, follow my advice: go watch Zombieland. (Don't get me wrong I like a good action movie and Zombieland was a good laugh, but Rampart doesn't fall in these categories.)

Now, this foreword should have dealt with 90% of the bad reviews found on this film from viewers who were looking for a different kind of cinema. Because Rampart is a truly beautiful film, something of an artistic cross between Taxi Driver and Bad Lieutenant, both landmark tales of disenchanted life in the city/in the modern society. (If you haven't seen these stop right here and go rent these masterpieces.) But Rampart is not simply an homage to these two films, it's a lot more, with inspirations from David Lynch and Charles Bukowski in the distance. (Incidentally the camera - sublime - is Bobby Bukowski, probably no relationship to the poet.)

At the same time, Rampart is totally entertaining, never getting into the pompous arthouse movie trap. The main character is LA first, Woody Harrelson's character second. The end is pure genius. A must watch.
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on 20 October 2012
This movie reminds me of Copland. Very slow paced also, but full of superb characters. Woody Harlleson is superb as the tough cop who will not compromise and adapt. He will insist on the job conforming to his standards and not he to the job's.

After an incident of thuggery he is offered a deal to walk away, but his stubborn nature means he insists on hanging on and persisting with an outdated attitude and one where everyone is wrong but him.

He has a complicated personal life which he does not understand how to manage. He adores his two daughters, but his brutish character does not know how to communicate with them and in the end he painfully loses them. The strain of taking on everybody leaves him with no options, no family, no friends.... The slow slide into oblivion is superbly acted and painful to watch. It's not a cop action movie, but it's a top cop movie if that's what your looking for.
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I am slightly defeated by the aim of this film. It portrays the inward collapse of a bad cop in LA. We know he's a bad cop very early in the film, and frankly nothing further happens that does anything but confirm it. Devoid of a plot twist this is one of the longest death spirals I have ever watched. The lead actor's overly mannered style grated with me after a while, the portrayal of his women (who seem only to have spotted him as a bad 'un in the course of the film) lacked interest. This isn't a thriller, it is certainly realistically grim and banal, and in that (if nothing else) it stands out. Stories like this do not always end up in a shoot out, or with a new clue that changes everything. They end badly, but that is no reason to make films of them. Unless of course you make BAD LIEUTENANT.

I am hard pressed to think of many positives despite a stellar cast.
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VINE VOICEon 26 July 2012
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Rampart is a gritty retro style bad cop film. It's full of high contrast colour and the documentary style camera work roves around, never settling for an instance. At times this is distracting, however for the main, it's successful in attempt to add a realistic element.

There are scores of films that follow the internal struggles of police departments and their workers and Rampart offers very little original material. What is paramount is that there is no black and white with Woody's character, one minute he's clearly making bad decisions and moments later viewers will empathise with another set of actions. It's this balance that makes Rampart lift above it's mediocre plot.

The documentary style is suited to DVD however the sound is at times poorly presented, with several lines almost inaudible.

The extras are weak, with some TV quality interviews (questions presented via on screen text) and an average making of which offers little insight in to what is actually a complex film.
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Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I didn't like it, sorry, I just didn't. I can see an attempt has been made to turn what could have been a blazingly good police story into a type of art house film packed with stylized people and atmosphere but, unfortunately, it hasn't worked and the whole movie just comes over grey and ugly. Woody Harrelson is a great actor, although he does pick some weird and wonderful scripts, but he couldn't rescue this, no matter how much he tried. As soon as we meet his character, Officer Dave Brown a renegade cop, it becomes clear that this is one bad man with a history of violence and a gift for police corruption. As the film unwinds so does the character, he starts out being a mean, scary cop but over the next couple of hours he morphs into a mean, scary cop who goes slightly insane and that's what the movie's about; the meltdown of a corrupt cop with a bad history. Unfortunately Rampart has been so stylized it becomes slow, loses it's momentum and never sweeps you along with it. There's little tension or suspense and Rampart is never "dazzling" and "thrilling" as promised. I was disappointed, sounded like a great action movie but it's not; sorry Woody didn't enjoy Rampart.
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The box said it was Woody Harrelson at his best, yet he wasn't killing any zombies. Woody plays Dave "Date Rape" Brown. He is a tough LA cop who is old school and plays by his own rules. He frequently finds himself in situations where he believes he is "set-up" yet he is only "set-up" by his own actions. He has moved into a post Rodney King society (1999) where his antics are witnessed, filmed, and not appreciated. There are forces that want this "dinosaur" off the force. Woody doesn't want to retire.

His nickname "Date Rape" keeps popping up. This was due to an incident where he allegedly killed a date rapist. His "family" life is bizarre as expected. He has two ex-wives who are sisters and a daughter by each one who all live under one roof. The older daughter despises Woody. The ex-wives want their space.

In spite of Woody being a colorful character, the film drags during many of the scenes. The home life scenes, while bizarre and revealing, are boring. Watching Woody slowly destroy himself is like watching a train wreak. The film needed better editing, it didn't flow very well.

F-bomb, sex, brief nudity, anachronisms
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