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The New Centurions


For the amount of talent behind the scenes and in the cast, 1972's THE NEW CENTURIONS is a major letdown. in the 1970's, novelist Joseph Wambaugh was a major force with his in-depth looks at the lives of policemen, best mined in books and films like "The Onion Fields" "Police Story" and "The Blue Knight".

His bestseller was the base for this film, the story of police rookie Roy (Stacy Keach), who sees his job as a policeman as the perfect fit for his wrap up at law school and his idealistic view of the world.

That view is challenged when he is partnered with seen-it-all, hardened cop veteran Kilvinski (the always powerful George C Scott) and he begins to experience the reality of the streets.

It's an interesting peek at 1970's Los Angeles, the battle of the courts versus the cops and one man's trip from idealism to the harsh realities of law enforcement.

Director Richard Fleischer (Soylent Green, Fantastic Voyage) knows his way around a thriller, writer Sterling Silliphant (Telefon, The Enforcer, The Towering Inferno) has proven he can write crime thrillers and the supporting cast, including Jane Alexander and Scott Wilson are all strong.

But the sum here is much less than the parts. In the end, it's such a dark, dismal view with every character making brutal life choices that reflect no hope, you can't call The New Centurions entertaining or inventive.

Maybe this translated much better on the page than it does on screen, but as a cop thriller, its a dismal, depressing C.

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