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Film / The Rookie (1990)

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The Rookie is a 1990 American film directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Eastwood, Charlie Sheen, Raúl Juliá, and Sônia Braga.

Eastwood plays Nick Pulovski, a veteran police officer teamed up with a younger detective David Ackerman (Sheen), whose intent is to take down a German crime lord (Julia) and his lover (Braga) in downtown Los Angeles following months of investigation into an car theft ring.

Not to be confused with the 2002 film starring Dennis Quaid of the same name.


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This film provides examples of:

  • Big Bad: Strom, the German crime lord who Nick follows and who killed Nick's previous partner.
  • Book-Ends: Nick meeting his new partner David and accidentally shutting the door on him, also noting that the badge is upside down. The same thing later happens with David and his new female partner.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: Nick bribes drug addict Little Felix with a supposed bag of cocaine. It's really talcum powder.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Max's car (and the paint shade that Nick denounces) are late used to trace Strom's gang back to the warehouse where Nick and David first saw that car.
  • Cowboy Cop: Nick, as appropiate for someone played by Clint Eastwood, is a "beat up crooks first, ask questions later" kind of guy. It ends up rubbing on David, as his thrashing of the bar shows.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Sarah fgoes form being herd prisoner by Loco to helping David fight him, and getting in the kill herself.
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  • Dark and Troubled Past: David is haunted by the death of his younger brother in an accident in his childhood.
  • Dead Partner: Nick's previous partner, Powell, is killed by Strom at the beginning of the film.
  • Disposable Pilot: Blackwell, Strom's pilot, is shot behind the wheel of the plane during the opening stages of the final shootout.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Nick is subjected to Liesl forcing herself on him. His sole reaction was insisting "she did not sit on my face" after his partner ridiculed him about it.
  • The Dragon: Liesl is Strom's right-hand woman.
  • The Mole: Morales, one of the car thieves, is coerced into spying on Strom.
  • Mook Horror Show: David instantly switches from coward to badass when his partner Nick is kidnapped. When he enters a bar in which he previously had the shit beaten out of him, he first breathes fire on the bartender, beats up half the patrons and fires off several rounds from his gun - at this point, the patrons are standing in stunned silence. Then he trashes the place and sets fire to it, at which point they all flee in terror.
  • Naïve Newcomer: David, the tituar rookie cop, has only recently been promoted to detective.
  • Old Cop, Young Cop: The aging cop Nick and the young cop David.
  • Rank Up: Nick and Garcia are promoted at the end.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The Dirty Harry deep down Nick is released when he uses a Smith & Wesson revolver near the end of the movie to confront Strom.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Dirty Harry. In addition to being directed by Clint Eastwood, he also plays a veteran cop whose partners were constantly being killed.
  • Took a Level in Badass: David, after Nick is kidnapped.

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