One of my favorite films growing up was Robocop. When I was a kid it was just a fun good versus evil story. As I got older, I could see the satire in it and it just made the film that much better. A couple months back I saw the trailer to Officer Downe, a film based on the graphic novel from Image Comics, and it looked like a modern and meta version of Robocop and I knew I had to check it out. So how did it measure up?
Officer Downe is the directorial debut of Slipknot percussionist M. Shawn Crahan (Clown) and was written by Joe Casey based on the graphic novel he wrote for Image Comics. The film stars Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy 2008-2014) as the title character alongside a cast that includes Tyler Ross (V/H/S/2 2013), Sona Eyambe, Reno Wilson (Crank 2006), Bruno Gunn (Devoured 2012), Tracy Vilar (House 2008-2012), Meadow Williams (The Harvest 2013), Alison Lohman (Drag Me to Hell 2009), Sam Witwer (Being Human 2011-2014), Lauren Luna Velez (Dexter 2006-2013) and also features cameo appearances by Shawn Crahan, Chris Fehn, Corey Taylor and Sid Wilson of Slipknot. The plot follows Officer Terrance Downe, a police officer who is resurrected every time he is killed, as he sets out to rid the city of “Motherfucking L.A.” of crime while fighting against killer nuns, ninjas and teleporting assassins.
Officer Downe is a pretty crazy flick but don’t let the trailer fool you. While it is pretty outrageous and has its fair share of “What the fuck?” moments, it is isn’t really much of a comedy. Its more of a over the top action film that alternates between dark fucked up moments and awkward bits of comedy. The funniest line in the whole movie comes from one of the meta moments where a characters is speaking a different language and then he says, “Fuck these subtitles” and starts speaking in English.
This film definitely has its fair share of gore with some of the highlights being several bodies splattered against the walls, a couple pretty graphic exploding heads, a decapitation, a severed hand, a tore off leg used as a weapon and someone’s head squeezed till their eyes pop out.
Beyond that, the story manages to take some twists and turns which lead to some unexpected and emotional moments, which is due to the amazing cast. It was nice seeing Kim Coates, who was a scene stealer in his supporting role on Sons of Anarchy, taking a lead role. His deadpan delivery of some cheesy lines made me chuckle a couple times and his reactions to a reveal gave the film some surprising emotional weight. I got a kick out of the antagonism between Tyler Ross’ Rookie Cop and Lauren Luna Velez’s Chief. Their relationship, which starts out rocky and blooms into a mutual trust and respect, is the backbone the movie is built on.
Now while there was a lot to like, and in some cases, love about this movie, there was also a few things I didn’t care for or thought could have been executed better. The action scenes were well choreographed and bloody but sometimes there was an over-reliance on a shaky cam that made it hard to see what was going on.
Some of the characters, mainly Officer Downe and the main villains, didn’t have enough development or back story. All we learn about Office Downe is that he was a cop who was obsessed with his job and he died and was resurrected. Two of the main villains, Mother Supreme and Zen Master Flash, are given no real motivation or character development and their respective powers are ill-defined. Mother Supreme is a nun who sometimes talks in a demonic voice and leads an army of gun-toting nuns. Zen Master Flash has the ability to teleport. Besides this, we learn nothing about them whatsoever. Also, the villains who hire Zen Master Flash, The Fortune 500, are humanoids with animal heads, who are given relatively little to do besides yell obscenities and randomly get their dicks sucked or box munched.
While there are some things that could have been given more development, Officer Downe is still a fun and bloody good time. It features some funny moments, brutal action scenes, and an excellent cast. I wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel. We got 3 Robocop films, therefore, we should at least get 2 Officer Downe’s. If you like your action fast paced and bloody and your films ridiculously over the top, then I recommend you give Officer Downe a watch.