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AKA: Blue Jean Cop
Directed by: James Glickenhaus
Starring: Peter Weller, Richard Brooks, Antonio Fargas, John C. McGinley, and Sam Elliot
When drug dealer Michael Jones (Brooks) shoots a corrupt cop in New York’s Central Park one night, it falls on idealistic, Jimi Hendrix-loving attorney Roland Dalton (Weller) to defend him. But things get far more complicated when Dalton must team up with an undercover, unorthodox cop, Richie Marks (Elliott) to get to the truth behind all the corrupt cops, drug dealers, thugs and goons. And in a plot device later used, interestingly enough, in Night Of The Wilding (1990), the prosecutor on the Jones case is Roland’s former girlfriend.
What’s great about Shakedown is that it is not mindless. It has real characters in realistic settings. You grow to appreciate both Dalton and Marks. It’s a legal drama but it is filled with action as well - the legal side represented by Peter Weller and the action side by Sam Elliott, who should have appeared in more movies like this. Weller makes plenty of funny faces along with his more normal interpretation of Dalton, the baby boomer attorney. Another name, Antonio Fargas shows up, but the fairly fast pace doesn’t allow for him to stay around long. Richard Brooks would later be on the other side of the law on Law & Order.
Another noteworthy aspect of this movie is its excellent New York City locations. A lot of scenes were filmed on the famed 42nd street, right before the city was cleaned up. There are plenty of movie marquees on show, everything from X-rated material to movies like The Hidden (1987) and Fatal Beauty, 1987 (also starring Elliott). You can see the famous Lyric theater, among others. As part of Marks’ undercover work, he hides out in a theater watching the Glickenhaus movie The Soldier, 1982 (which you can also see posters for in the lobby). It’s great to see all this stuff. We’re very glad it was preserved here, intentionally or not.
The seamy, New York, 80’s atmosphere, along with the quality stunts, largely good acting combined with a story about adults (no stupid kids are involved) puts Shakedown way above the pack.
Featuring the tune “Lookin’ For Love” by Nikki Ryder, Shakedown is well worth seeking out.
Also check out the write-ups of Shakedown by: Direct To Video Connoisseur and Explosive Action!
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty