Picks and Pans Review: The Rookie

updated 12/17/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/17/1990 AT 01:00 AM EST

Clint Eastwood, Charlie Sheen

According to the credits, this film has 87 stunt performers and 37 actors—a hint that we aren't in for a deeply intellectual work. And this barely routine cop-buddy film lives up to that lack of expectations.

Eastwood is the scruffy veteran on the car-theft beat whose partner, of course, is killed as the film opens. He draws the preppy Sheen as a replacement, and they set off into a silly series of personality clashes before they settle down to chasing the leader of a chop-shop operation. Raul Julia. (Julia is supposed to be a German—maybe the son of a Nazi from Argentina?)

Brazilian Sonia (Kiss of the Spider Woman) Braga is colorful, cavorting like a dervish as Julia's right-hand woman, kicking, shooting, snarling—even raping the captive Eastwood. The rest of the cast is competent, except for Pepe (Force of One) Serna. He's all-out atrocious as Eastwood and Sheen's supervisor, although who wouldn't read lines like an oak tree when they have to say such things as, "Who the hell knows? But we're sure as hell gonna back him up."

Eastwood directed the pathetic script by Boaz (The Punisher) Yakin and Scott (Evil Dead II) Spiegel. Second unit director Buddy Van Horn does most of the heavy lifting, setting up a nice chase involving one of those huge trucks used to ferry cars. When the most memorable thing about a movie is the sparks sent up by a truck's dragging tailgate, though, it can't have been too much fun. (R)

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