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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty cop drama... the utter loneliness of it all
"Rampart" (105 min.) brings the story of Dave Brown, an LA cop going off the tracks, played by Woody Harrelson in an outstanding perfomance. In the beginning of the movie, Brown tries to keep his personal life together, as complicated as it is with 2 kids he has from 2 women who happen to be sisters, and they are all living together. At a certain point, Brown gets...
Published on March 3, 2012 by Paul Allaer

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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Lead Performance Let Down by Weak Storytelling
The tagline for Rampart reads "The most corrupt cop you've ever seen on screen," a statement which can only be true if you don't watch too many movies. Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is certainly a corrupt cop, but he's far from the most corrupt cop. Cops much more corrupt, more sympathetic and more compelling have been seen onscreen before. Chalk this up to a failure of...
Published on March 4, 2012 by Joshua Miller


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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty cop drama... the utter loneliness of it all, March 3, 2012
This review is from: Rampart (DVD)
"Rampart" (105 min.) brings the story of Dave Brown, an LA cop going off the tracks, played by Woody Harrelson in an outstanding perfomance. In the beginning of the movie, Brown tries to keep his personal life together, as complicated as it is with 2 kids he has from 2 women who happen to be sisters, and they are all living together. At a certain point, Brown gets involved in a car accident (accidental? set up?) and after the other driver tries to get away, he beats the driver exessively and just happens to get caught on tape.

Things get worse from there, and I don't want to give away much more from the plot, but suffice to say, Brown gets more and more isolated, even as he meets other women in his life. The whole movie is pretty much downbeat, and exposes the utter loniless of the Woody Harrelson character, leading eventually towards the open-ended conclusion of the movie.

The first hour was sorta long in the build-up, but the last 45 min. really shine. This movie has an incredible all-star cast besides Harrelson, with juice performances from Robin Wright, Ned Beatty, Sigourney Weaver, Anne Heche, and Ice Cube. But special mention in my book goes to Brie Larson in the role of Harrelson's troubled teenage daughter. In all, quite a movie, although certainly not for everyone. Still, "Rampart" is highly recommended!
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Lead Performance Let Down by Weak Storytelling, March 4, 2012
This review is from: Rampart [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The tagline for Rampart reads "The most corrupt cop you've ever seen on screen," a statement which can only be true if you don't watch too many movies. Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is certainly a corrupt cop, but he's far from the most corrupt cop. Cops much more corrupt, more sympathetic and more compelling have been seen onscreen before. Chalk this up to a failure of marketing.

Rampart is the second film by Oren Moverman, following his brilliant 2009 film The Messenger. That film also starred Woody Harrelson, among several others in this cast, and scored him an Oscar nomination. This nomination likely arose from his strengths as an actor, as well as the strengths of the film. Had Rampart been a stronger film he may have gotten a deserved nomination for his work here too. Moverman co-wrote the screenplay with James Ellroy, the well-regarded crime novelist who knows his way around police-driven Los Angeles stories. The film succeeds in presenting its main character as an amoral cop without reason. Dave Brown is not driven by the typical conventions of a corrupt cop movie, existing as he is for no discernible reason. That's certainly an interesting twist, but not everything else falls together so perfectly.

The setting is Los Angeles, circa 1999. Dave Brown is a controversial figure around the police department, having allegedly murdered a serial date rapist years earlier, earning him the nickname "Date Rape Dave." His home life isn't any more conventional. He has two daughters, born to two sisters (Cynthia Nixon and Anne Heche) who regard him passively. Things begin to implode when Dave beats a motorist who has wrecked into his car and is caught on tape. An investigation is launched which threatens Dave's entire way of living.

Many familiar faces fill the supporting roles. The film co-stars Sigourney Weaver, Ice Cube, Robin Wright, Steve Buscemi, and an unrecognizable Ben Foster. It's Harrelson and his gaunt appearance that stand out the most. This is a blistering performance, possibly his best, with much more depth than the film itself.

Rampart is well-made with some great acting, but it fails to fully engage. In presenting a character with no moral center it fails to give the audience an emotional center to latch onto. Certainly it does try to make Dave Brown sympathetic with the smallest amount of contrivance as possible, but watching it feels like going through the motions. Nothing in the film feels powerful enough. The ending especially is a point of complaint. As is increasingly typical with independent films, there isn't much of an ending. There's nothing wrong with an abrupt conclusion when it makes a poignant statement about what's lead up to it, but here it feels inappropriate. There's not enough closure. Whatever Moverman and Ellroy were trying to say about their character hasn't come full-circle.

This is a forgettable movie with a performance at the center of it that deserves better. The screenplay is what ultimately fails the film as it feels like Moverman shot the first draft. A bit of polishing, refining the edges may have worked in the film's favor. While Harrelson is given the chance to explore untainted areas of his acting range and that's something worth seeing, you may ultimately walk away from Rampart wishing it was more conventional.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not What It Looked Like, May 22, 2012
This review is from: Rampart (Amazon Instant Video)
The trailer/preview is the best part of the movie. Harrelson is great, but there is no "tense" "action" really in the film. A couple of gritty moments, but that's it and a lot of unresolved plot lines that go nowhere. It doesn't even have the decency to spiral all the way downward and end in some kind of self-implosion or something. Anything.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Part "Dirty Harry" part "Training Day". Not a bad movie at all but nothing really original either. Worth seeing though. I say B+, April 18, 2012
By 
Tony Heck (Belgrade, MT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rampart (DVD)
"I was under attack, I went after the suspect. End of story." Dave Brown (Harrelson) is an LAPD officer that who does things his own way. After he is caught on tape brutally beating someone after they hit his car his career is in jeopardy. While trying to defend himself against the charge an old alleged crime of his comes back up. This is a really good movie. The big problem is that it is again nothing really original. He acts the way "Dirty Harry" acts but has the morals of Denzel Washington in "Training Day". The movie has an all-star cast and the acting is fantastic. Harrelson especially is great in this in a very layered performance. He covers everything in this role; brutality, being a smart-ass, father in a very dysfunctional family as well as womanizer. This is a great role for him and the movie is very much worth watching. Again, though the only problem is that it seems like this movie has been done to death. Overall, nothing new but still good. I recommend this. I give it a B+.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never a Dull Moment, August 2, 2012
This review is from: Rampart (Amazon Instant Video)
Some people just aren't any good. I know the conventional wisdom is that there is good and bad in everyone. That sounds great; it's even part of the lyrics of a popular song, but it is not accurate. What I like about this movie is Woody Harrelson's bravura performance as Dave Brown, a police officer who has no redeeming qualities. He is unsavory, pure and simple.

It's set in 1999 at the time of the Rampart scandal in the LAPD. Corruption was rampant at Rampart, not to coin a phrase. The movie's Brown is corrupt. He strong-arms pharmacists to give him mind-altering pills. He kicks people when they're down, literally and figuratively. He bullies a probationary female officer. He's racist and sexist and essentially despises everyone. He's not really very bright, although he likes to spout phrases that he picked up while he was failing law school. None of that evil genius stuff. There's something unsavory about his relationship with his daughter. And there's much worse, but I don't want to spoil it.

There is no hidden tenderness. We don't see him saving a kitten. Nothing about abusive parents who ruined him, absolving him from guilt. Brown is guilty.

The supporting cast is strong. The cinematography captures a hot L.A. summer in the barrio. The direction is spot on.

Catch the unconventional living relationship. Brown lives with his two ex-wives. These ex-wives are sisters who know that Brown is a busy womanizer with more hangups than a cloakroom. Never a dull moment at the Brown's.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dark & disturbing rework of James Ellroy's 'White Jazz', May 18, 2012
By 
Nagronsky "Nagronsky" (Skagit Valley, Wa USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Rampart (DVD)
I knew there was something familiar about the plot of this movie, but when I saw James Ellroy's name as co-writer, I knew what it was, just didn't remember which novel it came from, thinking it was from one of his earlier Lloyd Hopkins books.
Harrelson was great, but other than that, it's a bonaroo stinker. For an evil cop, give me The Killer Inside Me, but definitely NOT the remake with Casey Affleck.

From James Ellroy's early writing, including the short Lloyd Hopkins series to his great LA Noir trilogy of The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and The Black Dahlia, Ellroy's books were excellent, but with the book that this arose from,White Jazz: A Novel, his torturous childhood seems to have caught up with him. Each time a new Ellroy book comes out, I hope he'll return to that earlier brilliance, but I'm sadly disappointed, just as I was with this film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the years best!, November 27, 2012
By 
Joecool (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rampart [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Based on lots of bad reviews of this great movie, it's not for everyone. People might have expected some CSI or Lethal Weapon type movie, but this one is a lot darker. Woody plays an old school cop who is not very likeable but entertaining. His seemingly insurmountable problems keep piling up, but he just keeps on living the way he thinks is right. If you liked the original Bad Lieutenant, you should be able to appreciate this movie. There are no clear good or bad guys to root for, but grab a six pack and enjoy Woody's journey of misery. The bluray looks and sounds great too.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A man fading, May 20, 2012
This review is from: Rampart (DVD)
Oren Moverman's film "Rampart" is misunderstood, it seems. Most films (and shows) about the Rampart incident, or those that indirectly show it's influence Training Day, The Shield: Complete Series are chalk full of drama and only give the viewer a retrospective after a million bullets and tons of action.

This is a character study. Officer David Douglas Brown works for the LAPD and probably has for some time delivering his own brand of street justice to those who he finds particularly amoral or repugnant. His fellow officers nickname him "Date Rape" as a result of his decision to execute a serial rapist. This kind of action hero behavior is not without an avalanche of consequences which Dave prefers to ignore.

Robin Penn Wright is fantastically understated in her role as a defense attorney who wants to serve Dave up for doing this. She feels a distant compassion for this "dinosaur", as his daughter calls him, but it isn't enough to stop her from pursuing justice.

Dave is a complicated man. He has two wives who are sisters (...yep) and imagines that despite the heat coming down on him after the brutal beating of a black guy who cut him off in traffic, the family can stay together. The world has already ended for this guy, that's the problem. He meets with the truly disgusting Ned Beatty, a higher up in the LAPD and a mysterious character, and it turns out that even an older dinosaur no longer cares all that much.

Sigourney Weaver is the therapist for officers on the job and it's her character that really provides the viewer with a moment of clarity. Nothing Dave has done has helped anybody; his heroic, tough guy brand of justice has just made everything worse for his family, his department, and the people he may have been trying to help. (Or does he just get off on it?) Ice Cube stars for a about half an hour as a prosecutor who refuses Dave's last attempt at atonement. In the end what we have is a man out of time, out of space and slowly fading. This is a brilliant movie and I'm not sure why it's garnered so much negative attention.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Two Hours Of My Life I Will Never Get Back, July 3, 2012
This review is from: Rampart [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
If you have two hours of you're life you'd like to waste, be my guest... but be warned - you'd probably have a lot more fun watching you're toenails grow than you will watching "Rampart". This movie is so bad that I actually took the time to find out who the writer of the script was so that if I ever met him I could punch him in the face and ask for my money back. What a tool this guy is - and the director of this lame mess of a movie is a close runner up.
Don't let this all-star cast fool you - I certainly did. Sure, the list of actors is long and distinguished, but the problem is that there's no damn story! I mean ZERO STORY of ANY KIND. And the ending? There is no ending. I found myself checking my blu ray for scratches because I thought it must have skipped a chunk of the film. Nope. Turns out the movie just sucked and then the credits started. Woody Harrelson spends two hours smoking cigarettes, sucking toes, getting drunk, and telling everyone what a "hard-charging" bad-ass cop he is without doing anything in this movie that would even remotely make you believe that. He's a bad cop who's also a bigot, a murderer, a drug addict, a womanizer, a sex addict, a bad father, a bad ex-husband, a bad brother, and a bad son. It's overkill. You also get 5 minutes of Sigourney Weaver, 3 minutes of Ice Cube, and 2 minutes of Steve Buscemi. The producers apparently used these actors' reputations to get us to watch this movie, but doing that was the same as putting a turd in a Tiffany's box - looks good on the outside, but then it turns out to just be a load of stinky crap. None of the actors are given much to say, but they also don't offer anything that would make this movie anything more than a torturous exercise in keeping your eyelids open. I don't want to blame the actors, but I'm seriously considering boycotting all of their future movies just for being in this horrible movie.
I'm also dumbfounded by the critical praise heaped on this steamy pile of crap. Sure Woody Harrelson is a great actor, and I guess he does a great job playing this character, but critics need a reality check and some medications - this film would even put an insomniac to sleep! This snoozefest is so undirected and lacking in anything even remotely resembling a focused story line that you end up wanting to bang your head against the nearest hard surface out of sheer frustration (and maybe a desire to keep yourself awake). Very little in this film is based in any fact whatsoever. No police department - let alone one as large and under the public microscope as Los Angeles - would ever allow a cop to continue to be on the street after being caught on videotape beating a person half to death. It would have actually been more realistic if they added a local drug kingpin played by Darth Vader. The movie is so convoluted, it's nearly impossible to follow - or even care about - the story line. Then once you think you may have figured out what the actual story may be, the credits come on.
"Rampart" is a complete waste of time - unless you really like spending your time trying to follow completely disjointed story lines with no meaningful objective. It's truly a movie about NOTHING. Awful movie. Did I mention I hated it?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars for a strong performance by Woody Harrelson, July 19, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Rampart [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
In an East L. A. barrio known as the Rampart district, Officer Dave Brown (Woody Harrelson) is a brutal and corrupt cop. Set in 1999, a Viet Nam vet and law school wash out, Brown has an unusual lifestyle (2 daughters conceived with 2 sisters, all living together) to go with his bias, booze, broads and bravado. Brown is caught on camera, clubbing a Hispanic man within an inch of his life. This isn't the first incident for Brown and brings back all the negative images of the L. A. police force at the time.

In addition to the sisters (Cynthia Nixon and Anne Heche), Brown seems to hit it off with the ladies in general, especially an attorney named Linda (Robin Wright) who he meets in a bar. Brown need money to help his defense against charges the city is about to bring, so works with an ex-cop (Ned Beatty) to get the low down on a high stakes card game. Brown doesn't go there to play cards however. Due to bad luck or targeted action by unknown people, Brown's plan goes haywire and he's in even more hot water. While Brown is cool and quick on his feet and with his words, his predicament combined with his unraveling relationship with his daughters moves him toward deeper despair.

Director and co-writer (with James Ellroy) Oren Moverman has his second outing with Harrelson in the lead. As in "The Messenger," Moverman has recognized the acting talent he has with Harrelson and pretty much just lets him roll. The cast is buoyed by Sigourney Weaver as one of the civilians in charge of the investigation, Ben Foster, unrecognizable as homeless man and Ice Cube as the police investigator charged with bringing Brown down. Unfortunately, there seemed to be only one way out for Brown, but Moverman's conclusion left me cold.

The Blu ray version I have is the single disc. Special features include a director's commentary track, cast and crew interviews and a behinds the scenes extra. The video transfer is an excellent 1080p with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The colors are excellent and the detail especially crisp on the many close ups. The audio is likewise exemplary. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is clear and specific. The street scenes are really highlighted in the surrounds.
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Rampart
Rampart by Oren Moverman (DVD - 2012)
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