Demonstrating that he still knows which side of his bread is buttered, Clint Eastwood wasted little time in following up the commercially chancy White Hunter, Black Heart with the commercially conservative The Rookie. Perhaps too little time. This old-cop-young-cop duet is a microwaved hash of reactionary reliables: xenophobia of Ian Fleming dimensions, misogyny to match Mickey Spillane ("Shoot her. Shoot her now"), male bonding to outrival Homer. (Lara Flynn Boyle, on furlough from TV's Twin Peaks, pipes up in the Voice of the Feminine: "I don't like this." Masculine response from Charlie Sheen: "Nobody asked you to.") All of this of course has solid precedent in the action genre, no matter how rickety the present purveyor, and there are plenty of nice, revitalizing touches from Eastwood-the-Director: the tinkle of spent cartridges on pavement during a thunderous shootout; the comet-tail of sparks thrown up from a loading ramp dragged along the freeway; the icy landscape of plastic garment bags at a dry cleaner's. And the spectacle of Eastwood-the-Actor getting raped by Sonia Braga is surely a milestone of a sort. (1990) — Duncan Shepherd
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