Judge David Johnson reports to no one. Except for his wife, his mom, his supervisor, and his commanding officer at Langley.
No one knew she was an undercover policewoman. Including the detective who killed her.
From the MGM vault comes Report to the Commissioner, a 1975 cop flick starring Michael Moriarty (Law and Order) as Bo Lockley, a feathery, wide-eyed idealistic rookie who finds himself neck-deep in a tough precinct. He takes a load of crap from his fellow officers, as they hit him with the dreaded "H word": hippie.
Lockley struggles to ingratiate himself with the veteran cops—though making friends will prove to be the least of his problems. He gets pulled into an undercover drug sting, allured by the comely female officer, who's trying to take down a powerful drug-running gangster. The three players intersect when Lockley is discovered in the dealer's apartment and a shootout ensues, then an epic footrace and, finally, a standoff in a sweatbox elevator which consumes the final 30 minutes of the film.
For anyone interested in an old-school, hard-edged, politically incorrect police tale; Report to the Commissioner should do nicely. The cars are huge, the racial epithets flow freely, the soundtrack is groovy and the hair is bushy.
Moriarty is the real draw here. He delivers a great and sometimes heartbreaking performance as a kid who's absolutely out of his depth from the get-go. Moriarty says his lines in a soft, high-pitched tone and carries himself loosely as he walks through the mean streets. These are subtle performance tactics but they pay-off in a big way, starting with the elevator scene and ending with the shocking ending.
Speaking of the elevator, it's the centerpiece of the film and extremely well-done. While the cavalry gathers outside, formulating a plan to defuse the situation, Lockley and his new pal cook in the claustrophobic hotbox. The suspense is tactile, building up steadily toward the finale. It's an effective set-up from start to finish and a case study in tension-building.
MGM's DVD is threadbare, but adequate in its technical merits: a solid 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 2.0 stereo and no extras.
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Scales of Justice
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