The Super Cops
Director: Gordon Parks
Starring: Ron Leibman, David Selby, Sheila Frazier, Pat Hingle
* * *
Full review after the jump.
The whole pic is driven by Ron Liebman who gives one of the most amped up, over the top, yet somehow believable performances of the '70s. His portrayal is akin to a 24 hour adrenaline rush; always excited, always winded, yet seemingly with energy to spare for a dozen cops. So much so in fact, that near the climax of the film (after our heroic pair chase down a gang of baddies through a condemmed building that's being demolished around them) when he finally utters, "... I'm tired", I actually found myself exhailing for him. David Selby's near silent portrayal of Hantz serves as the perfect compliment. He is the strong silent type who has his partner's back at all times which considering the situations they get into, is a comforting thing. It is a thankless role next to Liebman's near maniacal scene stealing, but it's a necessary one.
The film has been criticized unfairly because it never reveals our heroes' motivation or give any backround information about them (which I never felt was necessary in this instance) as well as the complaint that the film doesn't get as down and dirty as it might have (this IS urban New York of 1974 afterall). But this clearly wasn't what Parks intended here. He deliberately went with a relatively light, pulpy, fast moving, adventure and on that level, he succeeded.