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One Tough Cop


One Tough Cop

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In One Tough Cop, Stephen Baldwin plays Bo Dietl, a real-life New York policeman. The film, however, ends with the curious notice that "except for the character of Bo Dietl, all characters and events depicted in this film are fictional." This raises two interesting questions: 1) If you're going to base a film on a real person, why not base it on someone more interesting than the two-dimensional, gruff, and, yes, tough cop played by Baldwin? 2) If you're going to create a fictional story (One Tough Cop is based on a book of the same name co-written by Dietl and Ken Gross) to surround said tough cop, why not create something that aspires to resemble something more than a rejected NYPD Blue script? Shortly after the film opens, Baldwin finds himself confronted by two FBI agents less at ease than Baldwin with his lifelong friendship with a prominent mobster (Mike McGlone). Baldwin rejects the agents' offer to help them, complicating a life that already includes a difficult investigation of a nun's rape and murder, an ongoing flirtation with McGlone's mistress (Gina Gershon, whose performance largely consists of the same expression of open-mouthed concern regardless of what's going on), and a partner (Chris Penn) headed down the destructive path of gambling, alcoholism, and, in one of the film's strangest details, unpaid parking tickets. Director Bruno Barreto (Four Days In September, Carried Away) finds virtually nothing interesting to do with material that will be familiar to anyone who has ever seen a film featuring cops and toughness.