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Narc: Stark and Gripping

  Crescent Blues Movie Views

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When a drug bust turns bad, perps and civilians alike go belly up faster than guppies in a hot tub. So with a dead druggie, a seriously wounded female citizen and an aborted fetus clouding his official record, Nick Tellis (Jason Patric), Detroit undercover cop, gets some time off for bad behavior. Maybe, while home dealing with a screaming baby, a hostile wife and his own guilty conscience, he can find time to improve his shooting skills.

But criminal elements never take a day off. They gun down a rookie agent, and the bigwigs call Nick back in service to help solve the murder.

Teamed with Lieutenant Henry Oak (Ray Liotta), the dead rookie's partner, the investigation begins. Oak, distraught over the death of his saintly partner, vows to leave no rock of hashish unturned in the pursuit of the dastardly murderers.

Following in the wake of Oak's brutal questioning agenda, Nick battles his own demons. Life in undercover narcotics can turn into a dangerous nightmare, especially if you lose track of which side you're on. And Nick, recently out of drug rehab, knows all about the pitfalls of occupational addiction.

But, Oak loves his job, so on they go, breaking doors, smashing windows, and busting heads, all in the name of law and disorder. They investigate everything from two-week-old bathtub corpses to naked arsonists suffering from crotch rot.

Will Nick discover the truth behind the murder in time to save his marriage, win a desk job and get tickets to the Policeman's Ball? Will Oak beat the living hell out of every crack-head in Detroit before he learns that the nut doesn't fall far from the tree? Do Detroit policemen have Balls?

From its frantic beginning to its twisted end, Narc grips viewers with a cold hand of stark reality. The backdrop of inner-city drug problems comes into sharp focus, and, as the story unfolds, the line separating good cop and bad cop blurs into obscurity. Excellent movie. I give it an "A-".

Dixie Says: Normally I like a clean shaven face. But Jason Patric looks adorable in this movie. Even the facial hair couldn't hide those haunting eyes. And Ray Liotta, looking as big and hairy as a bear, gives us a great performance without lunging over the top. Ray must be taking vitamins, because he looked a lot smaller in Heartbreakers.

After seeing this movie, I'm staying away from cold, snowy Detroit. The cops run around all day busting drug dealers and yelling at their wives. And sure, they face a constant array of dangers, like getting shot, getting stabbed and getting laid off, but they can always get unemployment.

The underlying messages presented here tell us to always cooperate with the police, stay away from drugs, and don't eat the red snow.

With romantic comedies and hobbits overloading the silver screens, I appreciate the change of pace this playful little drug movie brings. I give it an "A" for the abstaining from drugs.

Don & Dixie Mitchell

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