Ex-Cop (1993)


(1993)- * * *

Directed by: Pat Kerby

Starring: Rick Savage, Sandy Hackett, Douglas Terry, Susan Paris, Joan Chamberlain, Angi Davidson, Gabriela Macs, and Richard Cornell

"You suck, news lady!" - Ronny Witherspoon

Pete Danburg (Savage) is a cop. He's not yet an EX-COP, we'll get to that a bit later. Danburg is described as "The Best" vice cop in the history of the Las Vegas Police Department. He's turned down offers to go to other departments because the vice squad is all he knows, according to him. He has a loyal friend and partner, Willy Latham (Terry), and they're after a razor-slasher named Ronny Witherspoon (Hackett) who is terrorizing the area. They eventually catch up with Witherspoon at the Lake Mead marina and shoot him, saving the life of Chance Tatum (Chamberlain), a news reporter undercover as a prostitute. However, in the course of this encounter, Witherspoon's straight razor, an integral piece of evidence, goes into the water.

Four years later, Danburg is now in his dream position - an EX-COP. Due to lack of evidence (apparently his whole case dependend on that darn razor), Witherspoon is paroled. He did not die in the shootout, he only has a limp - and a burning desire to get revenge on Danburg, Latham, and Danburg's daughter Tess (Davidson), a gymnast. Now that the evil slasher is back out on the loose, Pete Danburg sends Tess out to live on the ranch of his brother Stony (Cornell). This plan doesn't exactly work and Witherspoon kidnaps Tess. Now the stage is set for the ultimate showdown. The EX-COP vs. the baddie Witherspoon. What the heck is going to happen now?

Ex-Cop is a ton of AIP fun and is well worth seeking out. It has a rough-hewn charm that is all but absent from movies made these days. We applaud director Kerby and his filmmaking cohorts, who had the drive, wherewithal and guts to try to make a Dirty Harry/Charles Bronson film with essentially zero budget. In 1993. Thankfully, they went ahead and did it and it's a huge success.

A lot of this has to do with Rick Savage as Danburg. Everything he says is pure gold. He indeed could have been one of the "elder statesmen" of action. However, just to be clear, this is not the same man that did adult films, nor is it the bass player for Def Leppard. This Rick Savage is his own man. A REAL man. An elderly man. While it's never really explained why a man of his advanced age is still on the force, even before he becomes the inexplicably vaunted ideal of the Ex-Cop, this (and of course the romance he finds time for with Chamberlain) all predates the age confusion found in Righteous Kill (2008) many years later.

Naturally, the high brass of the LVPD want Danburg out because they claim he's a "Cowboy". There's a WYC that tells him this and they want him to turn in his badge and gun. Danburg also has a drinking problem and is disgruntled. Every other "Cop" cliche you could possibly imagine is here as well. Thank goodness. You have to get into the spirit when you watch Ex-Cop. Once you're in that spirit, wondrous things await you.

About an hour into the film, we get a Pete Danburg break, where he's not really around. This is the only real flaw here. The movie suffers when Rick Savage is not on screen. Also, Danburg's wife Cat (Macs) has a thick accent, presumably of some European origin, and it's hard enough to understand what some of the actors were saying, so this didn't help much and was never explained (not that Danburg's actions need explanation. He marries thickly-accented foreigners and asks questions later). Then the slasher menaces a prostitute named Lacie (Paris) for a while. Then Willy spends some time with his son, an infant named Willy Jr. Where's Danburg during all this? That's what the audience needs to know. That's certainly what we were asking.

Ex-Cop is very much in the same vein of the other AIP material being released by them at this time, such as Cop Out (1991), Extreme Vengeance (1990), and Burning Vengeance (1989). If these comparisons don't mean much to you, just translate it into this one word: FUN.

Sandy Hackett is Buddy's son. He's the only one in the cast who has any acting resume to speak of that we could find. All the others are first-timers and/or only-timers. So we are treated to the very awkward interactions and line deliveries of non-actors. But everyone here was trying. That's what makes all this so great.

This should be a cult movie. Much like another AIP favorite, Brutal Fury (1993), this isn't a horror movie, so it never developed a cult following. But both of these films should have. Vinegar Syndrome, where are you on these? VS released "Geteven" (1993), which, like "Excop", features the main title as one word, in quotes, on the screen. So it would be perfect for one of their releases.

A shredtastic guitar player named Troy Walls is credited with "Musical Scoring" for the film, and his band "Crisis" (their quotes, not ours) get three songs on the soundtrack. Their songs are catchy female-fronted metal and they should have opened for Doro. But what they do get is a live performance that takes place at the bar where Witherspoon finds Lacie. Much like Tess's gymnastics routines, we get to spend some time with them. Sure, those scenes are Pete Danburg-less, but they're still cool. They're a product of their time and place. Unlike Tess, and to the ultimate detriment of mankind, we don't wear skintight Body Glove shorts anymore. C'est La Vie, Pete Danburg. We hardly knew ye.

Just why the idea of Danburg being an Ex-Cop is dwelled upon so much in this film is never explained, but YOU should be dwelling on finding yourself a copy. It's a gem and it's downright delightful.

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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