It’s a good time to be a comic book fan. While mainstream publishers DC and Marvel continue to battle it out for box office supremacy, lesser known titles are finding their own niche channels to celluloid glory…or, in the case of Joe Casey and Chris Burnham’s Officer Downe, gory. We reviewed the Officer Downe graphic novel back in 2011, calling it a “hellride of hyper-violence” comparable to the likes of Riki-Oh and Robocop.
At the time, there was no reason to think that such a spectacle would ever be committed to film outside of studio like, say, Troma. Fast forward to today, however, and the landscape of comic book cinema has been irrevocably transformed thanks to adaptations of properties like Kick-Ass, Super and Deadpool. In this world, an over-the-edge LA cop who’s “repeatedly resurrected and returned to active duty via dark science technology” is par for the course. So it makes sense then, that in this environment, someone finally had the balls to turn Officer Downe into a movie—starring Sons of Anarchy badass/psychopath Kim Coates no less!
Granted, Coates would not have been my first pick to play the titular hulking behemoth of a law enforcer, but he’s an inspired choice. Personally I would have chosen someone who casts a shadow as big as his comic book counterpart, the same imposing physicality…this role needed an Arnie. My personal casting preferences aside, Coates at least seems to favor the character to an adequate degree. Unfortunately, despite a cool premise and the promise of ludicrous amounts of carnage, early reviews of the film’s debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this month seem to indicate a disappointing debut for first time director M. Shawn Crahan (Slipknot).
I’ll reserve my own final judgement until I actually get to see the film for myself. Suffice it to say, a movie starring a loose cannon cop who gets continuously reanimated to fight crazy ninjas can’t be all bad…right? Unfortunately, no release plans have been announced beyond its LAFF premiere at this time.