Review: Officer Downe

Last Updated on July 31, 2021

PLOT: In the future, an undead LAPD cop (Kim Coates) goes to war with the seedy underbelly of his beloved city.

REVIEW: As I was watching OFFICER DOWNE, I really started to miss the former directing team, Neveldine/Taylor. If ever a movie was custom made for their sensibility, this is it. Mark Neveldine is actually on-board as a producer, but with Slipknot’s Shawn Crahan (aka “Clown”) making his directorial debut, OFFICER DOWNE feels like a fun viral video gone-on too long. There’s about twenty-minutes in here that absolutely kills, but the rest of the movie is too minor and undercooked to work, even though Crahan deserves credit for getting the most out of his low-budget, and nailing the titular character’s casting.

Kim Coates has been a cult-figure for a long time now, especially for Canadians, with him only really getting his due south of the border after being cast as fan-favorite “Tig” on “Sons of Anarchy.” As Downe, Coates looks like we walked right-out of the graphic novel, and seems in on the joke, playing Downe as a bewildered automaton who’s great at fighting crime (and pleasing the ladies via his on-screen “orgasm counter”) but is essentially a zombie otherwise.

Coates seems to be relishing his shot at playing a lead, doing well in the action sequences, and overall playing it somewhat tongue-in-cheek, necessary for this kind of part. It’s a shame then that he’s not allowed to be the true lead, with most of the story being told through fresh-faced rookie Officer Gable (Tyler Ross), who becomes Downe’s partner. His captain (“Dexter’s” Lauren Vélez) shows him early how Downe is revived through the efforts of a bunch of telepaths hooked up on the LAPD basement, a fact Downe himself doesn’t seem to realize until later. He’s so dedicated to fighting crime he never questions the fact that he’s able to sustain any wound and keep going. Gable feels like an unnecessary attempt at making an audience surrogate. It’s like a ROBOCOP movie where Lewis is the protagonist.

As far as baddies go, none of them seem like a real threat to Downe. We see the city is lorded over by some anthropomorphic animals that I initially thought was the band Gwar (it’s not), with Downe fighting gun-dealing nuns (among them, the long MIA Alison Lohman – in a cameo), and most significantly, a ninja named Zen Master Flash (Sona Eyambe) who – in a joke pinched from WAYNE’S WORLD 2 – speaks dubbed English.

As mentioned earlier, OFFICER DOWNE only occasionally works. The bit with the nuns is funny, and the first fight with Flash is terrific, being scored by Billy Squier’s “Everybody Wants You.”. After that’s its steadily downhill, with too much about the LAPD bureaucracy (boooooring), repetitive action beats, and an awful thrash metal soundtrack. Crahan is trying but he doesn’t have the skills needed to maximize the premise with his limited resources. Neveldine/Taylor would have made this next-level crazy, and that’s the kind of movie I really hoped this would be.

Even still, if you’re a fan of the graphic novel or Coates, OFFICER DOWNE is probably worth a quick watch. It might also make for a solid midnight movie, and I’m sure I didn’t do it any favors watching it via a screener link at home, alone, in my apartment. Get some friends together, drink some beer and this might do more for you than it did for me.

Officer Downe



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About the Author

Chris Bumbray began his career with JoBlo as the resident film critic (and James Bond expert) way back in 2007, and he has stuck around ever since, being named editor-in-chief in 2021. A voting member of the CCA and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic, you can also catch Chris discussing pop culture regularly on CTV News Channel.