Ray Mandel (Thomas Jane) is a jaded, rough-hewed patrol officer from LAPD’s Olympic Division assigned to train an ambitious rookie cop on the night the entire squad is on high alert to hunt down two cop killers. Also complicating their night of patrol is an unhinged cop that’s gone into law breaking-rogue mode with a vow to catch the killers at any cost.
Since they’re on patrol, we’re in the car a lot and there’s not much action as Crown Vic favors the philosophical over the action, but when the action hits, it’s gritty and violent—so we feel like we’re on a real night of patrol. These aren’t the cartoon cops of the Lethal Weapon variety with non-stop, over-the-top action. It’s not all running, fence-climbing, building jumping and gun fire in the life of a real officer, after all.
Don’t let the fact that you haven’t seen Crown Vic listed on your cable system’s VOD menus, and that it’s a selection in your local supermarket’s Redbox, deter you from giving this low-budget ($3.6 million) thriller a chance. I sure didn’t see this Thomas Jane-starrer listed by my cable service provider—and I’ve watched a lot of Thomas Jane movies because of, well, Thomas Jane. He killed it in The Punisher. We dug ‘em in Deep Blue Sea (1999) and one of the best of the Stephen King adaptations, The Mist (2007). So if Crown Vic was available on-demand, I would have rented it. And I am not much for Redbox, but for Thomas Jane, I’m all in.
Crown Vic moves along at a snappy pace courtesy of solid acting from all concerned—mainstay TV actors David Krumholtz (The Good Wife, Mom, Num3ers), Bridget Moyhahan (Blue Bloods, the John Wick franchise) and Scottie Thompson (The Blacklist, NCIS, 12 Monkeys: The Series)—buoyed by dark ‘n gritty cinematography and sharp editing that measures up to its fellow, dark cop dramas Training Day (2001), the Kurt Russell starring Dark Blue (2002), and David Ayer’s End of Watch (2012).
Writer-director Joel Souza is relatively new to the scene with a short resume of six films since 2010. If Crown Vic is any indication, he’s a name to watch. You can watch his latest film on Amazon Prime, Redbox, Google Play, Vudu, and You Tube Movies.