This slapped-together, excessive-force flick uses an anti-vigilante springboard to celebrate police brutality. The violent sequences aren't imaginatively stylized; the good-cop vs. bad-cop situations aren't freshly realized; the filmmakers are half in love with what they're condemning.
Although gung-ho police detective John Trace (Stephen Baldwin) has killed four suspects in the line of duty, he's spared an Internal Affairs investigation when Lt. Laine Devon (Chazz Palminteri) selects him for his unconventional task force, SCAR (Select Unit Armed Response). Resented by his less
principled comrades like Zero (Bray Poor) who kill blindly without asking questions, Trace can't sanction Lt. Devon's orders to take no prisoners.
In a strike on a druglord's mansion, the SCAR commandos exterminate not only the dealers, but also two hookers who witnessed the carnage. Trace is able to let one prostitute, Candy (Tia Carrere) escape; but her pimp Paul (Larry Manetti) and his mob boss Sammy Bandusky (Michael Rispoli) agree to
turn her over to Lt. Devon in the hopes he'll steer clear of their illegal franchises.
Sammy blabs about Trace's good samaritanism to Devon, who orders that Trace be ambushed during a routine assault. But Trace gets away and rescues Candy from Paul's strip joint. When SCAR officers attack Candy's house, Trace guns them down. After forcing Paul to set up a rendezvous for Sammy and
Devon, Trace wounds Sammy's henchmen and shoots Devon to death. With the SCAR ringleader dead, Trace and Candy drive off to a fresh start.
Practically drooling over its own mayhem, SCARRED CITY barely disguises its caveman ideology, with the filmmakers getting their jollies by dwelling on how much the cretinous cops enjoy their killing duties. There is little or no effort to link the gangsters and police in a chain of amorality. The
anti-vigilante stance is an excuse to whet the audience's appetite for blood, a tactic that wouldn't be so repellent if the screenplay didn't insert bits of gallows humor, with Trace and Candy cracking wise as the bullets fly and the bodies splatter. SCARRED CITY wants to have its cake of tainted
justice and eat it, too. (Graphic violence, nudity, extreme profanity, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1998
- Rating: R
- Review: This slapped-together, excessive-force flick uses an anti-vigilante springboard to celebrate police brutality. The violent sequences aren't imaginatively stylized; the good-cop vs. bad-cop situations aren't freshly realized; the filmmakers are half in love… (more)