Follow TV Tropes


Film / Hollywood Homicide

Go To

Hollywood Homicide is a 2003 buddy cop film directed by Ron Shelton, which stars Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett as two mismatched detectives who are thrown together to investigate the murder of an up-and-coming rap group in Los Angeles while dealing with their own personal struggles. Hilarity Ensues.

Detective Joe Gavilan (Ford) is a snarky over-the-hill cop who finds himself partnered with a young recruit, K.C. Calden (Hartnett), to find the culprit behind the massacre of a rap group, in what appears to be a gang-related shooting. Gavilan couldn't care less about the case (as he moonlights as a real estate broker), while Calden has spent the past several years trying to find the man who murdered his father in the line of duty. The duo end up trailing a record label producer, Antoine Sartain (Isaiah Washington), who knows more information he lets on, and interact with a diverse cast of characters, including a psychic, an Internal Affairs investigator named Macko (Bruce Greenwood) obsessed with revenge against Gavilan, rap artists and more as they try to get to the bottom of the case.

The film was based on several real-life experiences faced by police officers, and took cues from other successful "buddy cop" films like Lethal Weapon. It was stuck in Development Hell for several years, and changed gears midway through production when it was reworked from a serious drama to a comedic vehicle for Ford and Hartnett.

This film provides examples of:

  • And the Adventure Continues: The film keeps going after all the plot threads are wrapped up, with two scenes playing out over the closing credits (Calden performing in a play and the duo cracking jokes at another crime scene).
  • Author Avatar: Screenwriter Robert Souza was a career LAPD Hollywood Division homicide detective who moonlit as a realtor, much like Gavilan.
  • Based on a True Story: Several jokes taken from Souza's career, such as Gavilan shooting Calden's target at the range, the perp taking the gun off a patrol officer's belt and shooting it in the station parking lot, and Gavilan trying to sell Jerry Duran's house to Julius Armus is based on Souza trying to sell Robert Evans' house to Dodi Fayed.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: Inverted during a scene where Gavilan and Calden are held in separate interrogation rooms by an Internal Affairs investigator who's trying to nail them for improper police conduct. Calden sits on his table and performs yoga in front of an incredulous female investigator, while Gavilan smuggles his phone into the interrogation room and tries to conduct a real estate deal while the IA chief is asking him questions.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: The sole witness to the opening crime, a young rapper who hid in a backroom, is identified by the cops when they find the puddle of urine caused when he got scared. Later on, the same thing happens again when the two cops have to protect him.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Both Gavilan and Calden. All you need to know about them is that the former spends the climactic Chase Scene negotiating a real estate deal on his cell phone, and the latter spends it pontificating about the inevitability of death to a terrified soccer mom whose van he stole.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Gavilan
  • The Cavalry Arrives Late: The two cops aiding Gavilan as he chases Sartain arrive moments after he throws the rap mogul off the building into a dumpster. Had Gavilan hung back for a couple minutes, the two cops could have arrested Sartain without incident (as he was unarmed).
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Calden may be a really lousy actor, but when Leroy puts a gun to his face in the final act, he manages to pretend to be scared shitless of his life well enough that not only he gets the drop on Leroy, but he also makes him confess that he killed Calden's father via gloating.
  • Classically-Trained Extra: Calden believes that he's the next Marlon Brando, and makes several claims throughout the film that his talent is being wasted on community theater productions. This avoids Informed Ability when he performs in a scene from A Streetcar Named Desire during the closing credits, and his performance is so groanworthy that Gavilan has to browbeat the audience into applauding at the end.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The final chase scene begins when Gavilan and Calden, who are simply walking along a street talking about how they can't find Sartain (who's disappeared), see the aforementioned man and The Dragon across the street and try to arrest them, which leads to the final chase.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gavilan. Harrison Ford at his best.
    Joe Gavilan, while being interrogated by Internal Affairs: Commingling funds, huh? That's my crime? Commingling? Guilty. My alimony number one comes from money commingled with my beer money. My refinanced car commingled with the short-term loan to keep the second mortgage paid off, commingled with my alimony number three, commingled with every goddamn dime I've got tied up in my Mt. Olympus property. My whole life's commingled!
  • Dirty Cop: Leroy, the cop who conducted illegal drug smuggling and was the one who killed Calden's father.
  • Disney Villain Death: Sartain falls from the top of The Broadway Hollywood and into an empty dumpster.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: The first thing Gavilan does when he comes upon a crime scene is order some food, and he gets very angry with the cop who screws up his order.
    • Also played literally in a sex scene between Gavilan and Ruby, where he's holding a donut in his mouth.
  • Femme Fatale: Ruby, an L.A. psychic who strikes up a relationship with Gavilan (and was previously involved with an Internal Affairs investigator who gets on Gavilan's case).
  • Flashed-Badge Hijack: Played for laughs with Ford's character trying to commandeer a car but its owner handily rebukes him. Meanwhile, his partner hijacks a van (with a family inside), then Gavilan steals a little girl's bike, then a taxi (which the driver runs the meter on)...
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Galivan steals a girl's bicycle in order to chase the villain during the final chase scene.
  • Hollywood Cuisine: Gavilan's diet mostly consists of cheeseburgers (with everything on them) and donuts.
  • Horrible Hollywood: Played for laughs. Gavilan is bombarded with pictures and scripts from would-be actors and writers, every person in a position of power is either corrupt or hopelessly clueless, and one of the two main characters shamelessly brags that he wants to leave the police force to become an actor.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Played with. Calden is a terrible shot (as evidenced by the opening scene), which works in his favor when he disarms his father's killer and fires several shots in his direction, knowing that he won't hit him (but will scare him anyway).
  • Innocent Innuendo: When Calden is doing yoga while being interrogated by the female IA detective, she looks at one of his poses and says, "That looks really hard." After a beat, she clarifies, "That position, I mean."
  • It's for a Book: Eric Idle appears as a celebrity being booked at a police station, while protesting that he wasn't soliciting a prostitute - he was just gathering research for a role.
  • Kinda Busy Here: Gavilan's clients call him at inopportune times, like during chase scenes and an interrogation sequence.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Sartain is a surprisingly dark and serious villain from a comedic Buddy Cop film. Any comedy comes to a halt when he's around.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After spending the whole movie trying to get dirt on Gavilan and trying to get his Badge, Macko ends up being arrested after covering up Wasley's crimes.
  • Love Triangle: Gavilan, Ruby and Macko.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Sartain is very obviously based on Suge Knight, a rap mogul who earned notoriety for his criminal record and running his label through intimidation, and who's rumored to have been involved in the deaths of multiple rappers.
  • Revealing Cover Up: Sartain and Wasley killing the hitmen they hired to kill Klepto and H 2 O Click ends up leading K.C. and Gavilan to the conclusion that the murders were orchestrated and were not a gangland killing as they had initially assumed.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: The final fight between Gavilan and Sartain.
  • Rule of Three: Gavilan is accused of commingling funds after being ordered to open his locker. Antoine Sartain says he ended up in jail because his accountant noticed the commingling of funds. When Gavilan is subjected to interrogation, the accusation is brought up again.
    • When Gavilan hustles an off-duty cop working bodyguard duty for Sartain, the cop threatens police brutality charges. When they reach the studio a short time later and press some of his associates for his location, they also accuse the two of committing police brutality. Some time later, when they capture K-Ro, he immediately yells, "Police brutality!".
  • Running Gag: Gavilan moonlights as a part-time real estate broker, and tries to negotiate a deal between a rap artist and a buyer. This even happens during the final chase scene, when the same artist yells a selling figure at Gavilan when he's chasing down a suspect.
    • Also, Calden forgetting the names of the women in his class whom he runs into afterwards.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Calden claims that he's the next Marlon Brando and his talent is being wasted on community theatre productions. When we see him perform at the end his performance is so bad that Gavilan has to force the audience to applaud.
  • Trash Landing: Completely averted when Gavilan tosses Sartain off a roof after they fight. We get a nice overhead shot of the dumpster he's falling towards. The completely empty dumpster. THUD.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Calden returns to his home midway through the film to find one of the students from his yoga class waiting for him in his hot tub.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Sartain.
  • Working the Same Case: Calden's hunt for the man who killed his father years ago and Gavilan's investigation of Sartain end up being interconnected.
  • You Killed My Father: Calden's father was killed by Leroy, who gloats about it to Calden in the final act.
  • You Need to Get Laid: K.C. asks Gavilan when's the last time he did.