If you think back to your childhood, there was probably a time where you found something in the woods that you thought was really cool, like an unusual object, or an old swing rope across a river. But in Watt’s film, rebellious boys Travis (Freedosn-Jackson) and Harrison (Wellford) find a cop car. Better yet, the abandoned vehicle has the keys still in it, and there’s no one else around for miles.
So, the boys decide to take it for a joy ride. Chaos follows as corrupt Sheriff Kretzer (Bacon) realises his car has been stolen, when he returns to the spot he left it in, to take care of some rather sinister business.
Cop Car focuses on every ten-year-old boy’s fantasy of getting behind the wheel of a car and driving off in it, really really fast. As a kid, I wasn’t too obsessed with cars, but I still would have been very tempted to drive one, if found in the middle nowhere with not a single person in sight. The plot of this film may be goofy, but the idea is actually not that ridiculous when thinking about it. (But you’ll still have to suspend your disbelief ever so slightly…) So, as the boys take the car for a ride through endless blades of open land, the sheriff furiously hunts down the pair, while trying not to get caught himself at the same time.
This film climaxes in a tense, energetic and highly entertaining standoff, that’s a breath of fresh air. It’s so unlike many other action movies where there’s an abundance of pointless violence. I wouldn’t say that Cop Car is ‘edge of your seat’ gripping, but it’s very engaging. Most of the anxiety revolves around the two boys, who get increasingly out of their depth.
They take refuge with loaded guns they find in the backseat of the car, innocently messing around with the weapons as if they are toys. And the sheriff is hell-bent on getting the vehicle back at all costs because he’s left something in there that threatens to expose his illicit endeavours. Bacon is great in the role and he sports a moustache that makes him that little bit more intimidating.
As the film’s title suggests, it is entirely about a cop car, and we aren’t given much information outside of the story driving the film. Also, there aren’t many actors in the film either, but Watts delivers enough action and humour to keep you hooked.
Watts definitely could have taken Cop Car in much more interesting directions. The film doesn’t add too much to the crime and action genres, but it’s not predictable and keeps things grounded by showing the emotional impact of what the boys go through. As a whole, Cop Car misses out on opportunities to make it a really amazing film, but it’s still highly credible for its tightly focused story and entertaining execution. Give it a watch if you get the chance.
Check out the trailer below!
Quoted: “This is our cop car!”
Director: Jon Watts
Writers: Jon Watts, Christopher Ford
Starring: Kevin Bacon, James Freedson-Jackson, Hays Wellford.
Distributor: Focus World (Theatrical)
Run Time: 88 min.
Have you seen Cop Car? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section. You might also be interested in my reviews of other action movies here.