×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hard Time

Calling this series "Hard Time" carries an unfortunate double-meaning, since the audience will have a hard time buying this demographically suicidal setup.

With:
Det. Logan McQueen - Burt Reynolds Det. Charlie Duffy - Charles Durning Higgs - Michael Buie Catarato - Paco Christian Prieto Myler - Mia Sara Martin - Robert Loggia Barker - Billy Dee Williams Hertz - John D'Aquino Randy - Roddy Piper Eddie - Gene Lebell Pepe - Danny Arroyo

Acclaim from “Boogie Nights” was strong enough to buy Burt Reynolds a cop pic trilogy at TNT, this first of which finds him starring in and directing a mostly lukewarm actioner that smells an awful lot like the second coming of ’70s series “Dan August.” Here, Reynolds plays a renegade cop surrounded by corruption, who could use a chill pill or two.

Calling this series “Hard Time” carries an unfortunate double-meaning, since the audience will have a hard time buying this demographically suicidal setup. Reynolds begins life here as Detective Logan McQueen, who cruises the mean streets of Miami with his creaky partner Charlie Duffy (Charles Durning). Welcome to the Geritol School of Law Enforcement.

The film isn’t 30 minutes old before the 62-year-old Reynolds is sprinting after some lowlifes, wheezing and appearing on the verge of collapse. At this pace, his only arrest is liable to be of the cardiac kind.

Apparently, Reynolds is determined to show the world that he’s still as macho as ever, since his character later beats the crud out of a couple of thugs and blows holes through chests using weapons powerful enough to bring down a superpower or two. Even the 75-year-old Durning gets to rough up some undesirables.

Adding to the cardiac quotient are Robert Loggia and Billy Dee Williams in a pair of key roles — Loggia as a bad guy, Williams as politically motivated prosecutor.

Primary storyline that runs through the three-pic “Hard Time” series surrounds the hard-bitten McQueen and his various attempts to see justice done by his own rules. In the opener, it’s his own name that McQueen must clear after a shady character with a glass eye named Catarato (Paco Christian Prieto) frames him for murder in a stakeout gone bad. McQueen gets imprisoned. Things don’t look good.

There is actually some decent action and good fight scenes to be found in the serviceable teleplay from producer David S. Cass Sr. and Steve Wesley, and there are a few nifty finger-pointing twists we can’t see coming. Too, Reynolds has enough charisma to pull off the cranky cop shtik despite his whitened hair and world-weary countenance. What largely undercuts the good intentions is tepid dialogue:

Loggia: “Are you an aficionado of flamenco dancing?

Reynolds: “I was until I found out Jose Greco was born in Brooklyn.”

If Reynolds and cohorts were trying to ape Elmore Leonard, they clearly came up short.

There is further a totally preposterous cop shoot-out at the end that showcases the pitfalls of directing oneself. Plus, is there a reason why they need to play salsa music every time a dark-skinned individual appears on screen, or that seductive “wah-WAH-wah” instrumental (complete with a camera panning up a woman’s shapely, pantyhose-clad leg) when the fetching femme makes her first appearance (as happens here with potential love interest Mia Sara)?

For this and other reasons, “Hard Time” is a throwback to an era predating awareness of sexism, ageism and ethnic stereotyping.

Tech credits are sharp, if sometimes overdone.

Hard Time

TNT; Sun. Dec. 13, 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Larry Levinson Prods. in association with FFP Entertainment and Degeto Film. Executive producers, Larry Levinson, Robert Halmi Jr., Michael Smeaton; co-executive producers, Alan Margulies, Rick Ambros; producer, David S. Cass Sr.; director, Burt Reynolds; writers, Cass, Steve Wesley.

Crew: Camera, Suki Medencevic; production designer, Lawrence G. Paull; art director, Suzette Ervin; editor, Glenn Farr; music, Snuff Garrett; sound, Ken Willingham; casting, Reynolds, others. 2 HOURS

Cast: Det. Logan McQueen - Burt Reynolds Det. Charlie Duffy - Charles Durning Higgs - Michael Buie Catarato - Paco Christian Prieto Myler - Mia Sara Martin - Robert Loggia Barker - Billy Dee Williams Hertz - John D'Aquino Randy - Roddy Piper Eddie - Gene Lebell Pepe - Danny Arroyo

More TV

  • vudu-free-movies-tv-shows

    Walmart Brushes Off Reports of Streaming Development Halt

    Walmart isn’t ruling out options for a potential streaming video service, a company spokesperson says. Responding to a CNBC report that the mega-retailer had decided not to launch its own streaming entertainment service after all, Walmart would not confirm that there was any halt in development of such a platform, and did not have anything definitive [...]

  • THE KOMINSKY METHOD

    'Kominsky Method' Renewed for Season 2 at Netflix

    Netflix has picked up “The Kominsky Method” for a second season. The comedy stars starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin recently won two Golden Globe Awards, one for best comedy series and the other for Douglas in the best actor in a comedy series category. Arkin was also nominated in the supporting actor category. Season 2 [...]

  • Crackle Latin America

    Sony Shuts Down Crackle Latin America Business

    Sony Pictures Television is folding the Crackle Latin America subscription VOD service, which has 400,000 subscribers across 17 countries, after concluding the business isn’t economically viable. Crackle Latin America first launched in April 2012 as an ad-supported streaming service — like the U.S. version of Crackle — before switching in 2016 to a subscription video-on-demand [...]

  • Empire of Sand Book

    Kronicle Media, Amyale, Rebel Maverick Option YA Novel 'Empire of Sand' for TV (EXCLUSIVE)

    Production companies Kronicle Media, Amyale and Rebel Maverick have partnered to develop the YA fantasy novel “Empire of Sand” by Tasha Suri as a TV series, Variety has learned exclusively. The novel by first-time author Suri is centers on Mehr, the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother–a member of a race of [...]

  • 'NYPD Blue' Sequel Pilot Casts Fabien

    'NYPD Blue' Sequel Pilot Casts Fabien Frankel in Lead Role

    The “NYPD Blue” pilot at ABC has cast newcomer Fabien Frankel in the role of Theo Sipowicz, Variety has confirmed. Theo is the son of Andy Sipowicz, who was played in the original series by Dennis Franz. Like his father he is described as a hard-drinking, hard-headed, and quick-witted cop. Frankel is a recent graduate of the London Academy of [...]

  • Bradley Whitford photographed at the PMC

    Bradley Whitford on the 'Obligation' to Speak Out Politically

    Having starred on Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing” for seven seasons, Bradley Whitford is certainly no stranger to political television. Now he’s in two more such series: Nat Geo’s exploration of the dot-com era, “Valley of the Boom” in which he plays real-life Netscape CEO James Barksdale, as well as Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content