Keaton's Cop (1988)

Keaton's Cop (1988)-* *

Directed by: Robert Burge

Starring: Lee Majors, Abe Vigoda, Art LaFleur, Tracy Brooks Swope, June Wilkinson, and Don Rickles

Seeing as Comeuppance Reviews is a site devoted to all the pulse-pounding, explosion-packed, face-punching, spin-kicking, sword-slashing, machine-gun blasting action you can handle, it clearly was only a matter of time before that true master of action, Abe Vigoda, was featured.

In what I would describe as an "inexplicably Cannon" production, Lee Majors plays Mike Gable, an aging, disgruntled cop who is divorced, has one son, brushes his teeth in the morning with a can of beer, and would really love nothing more than to continue wearing his acid-washed jean jacket and throw criminals out of windows. When there is a shooting at a nursing home, Gable investigates and finds there is a huge conspiracy to knock off one Louis Keaton (Vigoda). Keaton is a former gangster, and, even though he seems pretty close to death anyway (not to be insensitive), Gable and the rest of the Galveston, Texas police force are assigned to protect him.

Naturally, Gable and Keaton don't get along, but Gable is doing his duty because his partner Jake Barber (Rickles) and Keaton were friends from the old days - the really old days.  Meanwhile, Gable's love interest is the nurse from the retirement home, Susan (Swope), and he would like this whole Keaton escapade to be over so he can live in his house on the beach with her, his son Jimmy (Clinton Austin Shirley, whose only other film credit is Robocop 2 - where he also plays a kid named Jimmy), and a really awesome dog, Blue (the credits read "and Blue as himself"). Can that happen - or will trying to protect Keaton - and uncovering the secrets from the past that go along with it - cost Gable his life?

The main question you can't help asking yourself while watching Keaton's Cop is - "why does this exist?" It seems weird that it was ever made and came out on video. But to answer the question to the best of our ability, Keaton's Cop is a cop/action/comedy romance with maybe some thriller elements. The attempts at intentional comedy generally fall painfully flat, but luckily there are some unintentional laughs. But also there are car chases, shooting and explosions.  I guess this goes to show older people can do anything younger people can do (Lee Majors is the "Young Man" of the film).

 Majors is good as the grizzled cop, but looks a bit confused. Luckily for him, the audience is too, so we can relate. Abe Vigoda is lovable, and the kid Jimmy should have been played by JTT. You can probably picture what he looks like - the stereotypical "cute kid". June Wilkinson shows up towards the end of the film as Big Mama. Interestingly, she's in this and Sno-Line (1986), and both are shot in Texas. Maybe she lives there and refuses to do any non-Texas-shot productions. As you may expect, there are the "wacky" characters such as the Gay Gangsters that are trying to bump off Keaton (and continually listen to the anthemic hair metal tune "Wild In the Streets" by a band called Meet Meat), and a gluttonous gangster called "Fat Tony". But by far the star of the show is the dog, Blue. He practically steals the movie.

Yes, the movie is very silly and nonsensical (some might say "bad") from the title right down to the theme song - which features the line "better watch out, Keaton's gonna getcha". Keaton's going to GET ME? He's like 90 years old! I guess that is pretty scary. But anyway, try to imagine Cocoon (1985) but with chases and shooting. For an antidote to the Hollywood trend of young people being in everything, there's always Keaton's Cop.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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