Fox // 1989 // 50 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bryan Pope (Retired) // April 15th, 2004
Floozies, delinquents, and guns. Oh my!
As of this review, my exposure to law enforcement has been limited to one viewing of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot and the occasional run-in with my friendly neighborhood animal-control officer. I'm happy to report that there's a lot more going on in Cops: Shots Fired than a yappy dog and Estelle Getty mischief, and I'm not talking about the open gunfire, cheerfully topless women, and inebriated citizens talking smack in the wee hours of the morning.
While those elements are here in abundance and make for jaw-dropping viewing, this collection of high-voltage moments from the popular Fox television staple provided something even more affecting, and something this judge didn't expect: a refreshingly positive depiction of good and decent men and women trying to keep the peace on our nation's streets, even if it means taking a bullet. Like the rest of us, these people have a primal fear of facing death head on, and Shots Fired has raw moments that capture that fear. It also has moments of them trying to reason with people who are beyond reasoning and gently reigning in situations that are spiraling out of control. Police officers have a thankless job, and I salute them.
In addition to the sequences involving police officers being assaulted with assorted knives and guns, Shots Fired includes a startling montage of car crashes. The you-are-there perspective of the camera kept me rattled throughout.
Cops: Shots Fired is presented in its original full-frame format, and, well, what can you say? The show is shot on video mostly at night, so the footage is bound to be rough. Audio is provided in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, and it's on par with the video. Bottom line: If you're happy with how Cops looks and sounds on network television, you're bound to be satisfied with its DVD presentation.
The sole extra on this disc promises 17 minutes of footage that was "too hot" for television. While "hot" isn't quite the word that springs to mind ("skanky," perhaps?), it was definitely amusing. One sequence featured two women disturbing the peace by, ahem, earning their Mardi Gras beads the old-fashioned way. Another sequence featured a young lady wearing nothing but a smile doing something decidedly unladylike to a parked car, and I don't mean giving it an oil change. I'm sure her grandmother is very proud.
Cops: Shots Fired does have some worth beyond its shock value, but it's hard to recommend this as a purchase when you can catch the show on TV most afternoons and evenings. But, at around $15, it ain't gonna break your bank if you're a rabid fan who absolutely must have this in your collection.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Official Cops Site