To Protect and Serve (1992) Poster

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The Mission, Kill Crooked Cops
bkoganbing17 February 2008
To Protect And Serve is the motto of Police Departments across the USA and in this case the title of a film starring C. Thomas Howell who finds himself among a lot of crooked cops. True to the blue wall of silence, Tom backs up this crew when they beat a suspect to death in their custody. He becomes part of the crew and earns their trust.

Months later somebody on a mission is doing a very nice job of killing all of this bunch who had a hand in the beating. Are they going to get to Tom next? Will his new partner and former lover, Lezlie Deane, get in the way when it all hits the fan?

This was one of those straight to video film releases that film distributors decided at the last minute wasn't marketable for the big screen. That's a pity because this film did have the potentiality to be something better. Even with all the holes in the plot, if someone like Clint Eastwood had starred, it would have gone to the big screen.

C. Thomas Howell is also listed as an associate producer. Had I been Tom I'd have paid more attention to the script because Tom does give a good performance. Standing out in the supporting cast is Zoe Trilling as a working girl who is a potential witness to the cop serial killer.
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Cop Drama With a Howell Twist!
tarbosh2200014 July 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Howell plays Detective Philip Egan, a loose-cannon Detroit cop on the edge. He witnesses his fellow police officers beating up an unarmed suspect. They "read him his rights" while they beat him to death. Also these corrupt cops take kickbacks and paybacks. Egan tries to quietly sign up with "the rat squad", AKA Internal Affairs, so he can get justice for the slain man but without his vicious cop buddies knowing. Also there is a serial killer on the loose picking off police officers. AND he is teamed with a new female partner, McCallister, who he doesn't get along with. It looks like Egan has a lot on his plate.

The cops have some funny "street" dialogue such as "you're coming up short, homie" and "hang around, ese" Like "Law and Order" this was ripped from the headlines of the time. In this case, the contemporary story of the Rodney King assault. Thankfully, "To Protect and Serve" is gritty and that serves the film well.

C. Thomas Howell puts in a tough performance and you care about his character and you want him to succeed. He's a man with a conscience that has nightmares about the beating. He also wears a sweet brown jacket and cool baseball cap throughout the movie. His Chief at the precinct tells him "you're a loose cannon, Egan! You're not RoboCop! I'm tired of cleaning up your messes!" Classic stuff. For more prime Howell, check out The Sweeper (1996).

Sure, To Protect and Serve has some clichés, but it's the ones you want. It's a cop drama that delivers the paint by numbers action, such as the cops yelling at each other and pulling each other's shirts, but with a C. Thomas Howell twist. If you come across this tape, pick it up if you like Howell or cop dramas.

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Strong plot although typical; ending kind of weak.
Flash-314 October 1998
Good plot up to middle part, then slowly got weaker but ending wasn't too bad. Good chemistry between lead male & female characters. Strong movie.
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There's A Killer On The Loose
Theo Robertson11 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
!!!!! SPOILERS !!!!!

Someone's going around bumping off cops and you really can't blame him since the cops...

1 ) Beat up suspects . Though to be fair they'll beat up anyone regardless of skin colour so at least they're not racist cops

2 ) Swear a lot

3 ) Spout terrible dialogue

4 ) Get drunk in bars and decide to drive home

5 ) Have sex in a room full of strobing light effects thereby giving voyeurs a seizure

Actually this was slightly better than I expected it was going to be . My only real complaint is when the murderer was revealed as the police captain who had killed the hero's father years earlier . I'm still still trying to work out what the motive for all this was . Perhaps I missed something due to a seizure ?
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