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Film review: Hollywood Homicide

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HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE — ** — Harrison Ford, Josh Hartnett, Lena Olin, Isaiah Washington, Bruce Greenwood, Dwight Yoakum, Lolita Davidovich, Keith David, Master P, Martin Landau, Gladys Knight; rated PG-13 (violence, profanity, brief sex, gore, vulgarity, brief drugs, racial epithets, nude artwork); see "Playing at local movie theaters" for complete listing of local theaters.

The first 90 or so minutes of "Hollywood Homicide" are little more than a set-up for the final 20 minutes, which is essentially an extended chase scene in a variety of wheeled vehicles and on foot.

And it's a good thing that the scene in question is as exciting as it is, because the rest of the film is rambling, jumbled and even a bit tedious.

To be honest, the filmmakers seem to be unsure of what they were trying to do here. On the one hand, the movie appears to be a parody of the Hollywood film industry and of rap and hip-hop music. And then it also tries to be a police procedural thriller and a buddy comedy. Unfortunately, it does none of them all that well.

About the only thing "Hollywood Homicide" really does accomplish is affording Harrison Ford an opportunity to finally stop acting so darn serious.

Ford stars as Joe Gavilan, a veteran LAPD detective who's also moonlighting as a real estate agent. That side venture has become something of a disaster. Worse, he's been handed a high-profile case, investigating the fatal shooting of four hip-hop stars in a busy Hollywood nightclub. Joe has also partnered with K.C. Calden (Josh Hartnett), a young detective whose heart isn't really in police work. He wants to be an actor.

If all that isn't bad enough, Joe also finds himself the subject of an internal-affairs investigation, based on his dealings with a Hollywood madam (Lolita Davidovich) and a radio psychic (Lena Olin).

Believe it or not, that's just the bare-bones plot. There are subplots involving the internal-affairs investigators, K.C.'s career plans and his family history, and many more.

As a result, co-screenwriter/director Ron Shelton never manages to develop the mystery or concentrate on the police-procedural material that would give this film an exciting hook. His pacing's off as well — except for the chase at the end, which is everything the rest of the movie is not.

Still, Ford seems to be having fun, and it's nice to actually see him smile for a change. Hartnett, however, is hopelessly bland, and none of the supporting-cast members get enough onscreen time to make an impression.

"Hollywood Homicide" is rated PG-13 for violence (gunplay, fisticuffs and vehicular violence), occasional use of strong profanity (including one usage of the so-called "R-rated" curse word), a brief sex scene, gore, some crude sexual talk, brief drug content (talk of addiction), use of ethnic slurs and a racial epithet, and glimpses of nude artwork. Running time: 111 minutes.

E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com