Frank Penny (Aaron Eckhart of Battle Los Angeles, The Dark Knight, Olympus and London Has Fallen) is a burnt out cop ready to become totally lost between the cracks on the floor of rock bottom after he killed a child abductor in the line of duty before the girl—his chief’s (Giancarlo Esposito of TV’s Breaking Bad) 11-year-old daughter—could be rescued. Now Penny’s in a race against time to find the girl—who’s stashed inside a glass box-tank slowly filling with water as a video camera streams her fate online. Complicating matters is the kidnapper’s accomplice and brother (Ben McKenzie of TV’s Gotham) who’s hell-bent on revenge, and a persistent social media vlogger, oh, excuse us, “internet journalist,” (Courtney Easton of Max Max: Fury Road) who dogs Penny every step of the way, streaming his every move.
I won’t sugar coat: the reviews on this one aren’t great. It does push the limits of credulity of cops as “supermen.” But what movie doesn’t? Do we not load up our copies of Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Speed to have fun? So, screw credibility. Sit back and enjoy the Crown Vic ride as Line of Duty is a throwback to those very same ‘90s action movies where the cop just won’t stop. As always: Aaron Eckhart is perpetually likeable and reliable. You put a police uniform on him and he’s not an actor in a police uniform: he’s a real cop.
We’ve spent time with the direct-to-video action thrillers of up-and-coming writer-director Steven C. Miller before, with his films Arsenal (2017; review to come) and Sylvester Stallone’s Escape Plan 2: Hades (and we still need to get to the 2017 Bruce Willis-starring First Kill). Miller’s forte is action thrillers and he always entertains. For this, his latest effort, he chose a script written by Jeremy Drysdale, who made his debut with a pretty cool rock ‘n’ roll flick that explored the myth of musician Gram Parsons of the Byrds: the comedy-drama Gram Theft Parson (2003).