Sly and “Cop Land” Made the Cut
4. Cop Land (1997): Shootout at the not OK Corral
Okay, this is pushing the definition of summer blockbuster a bit, but Cop Land stars a Hollywood A-lister and was released in August, so it counts.
As soft-spoken Freddy Heflin, Sylvester Stallone hesitates and mumbles his way through the whole film. For once this is intentional, as Freddy is a small town sheriff so in awe of the big city cops who live within his jurisdiction that he can’t bring himself to confront them when presented with evidence of their corruption. Freddy finds himself caught between internal affairs cop Moe Tilden (Robert DeNiro) and the de-facto leader of the corrupt cops, Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), and spends a great deal of time being yelled at by both of these acting heavyweights.
When the worm turns, and Freddie finally decides to take action, the film heads towards an inevitable, bloody confrontation. But the shootout that follows has a unique twist: Freddy is deaf in one ear and, whilst abducting the witness Freddy needs to take down the bad guys, Jack Rucker (Robert Patrick) has just fired his gun right next to Freddy’s good ear.
What follows can be described, rather tastelessly, as High Noon in deaf-o vision. We get to experience the resulting gun battle as if we are Freddy, every muffled shot, every shattering pane of glass, barely audible over the screeching of the tinnitus that now passes for his sense of hearing.
It’s a sequence that is at once immersive, alienating and uniquely thrilling.