Joe Casey’s graphic novel “Officer Downe” gets a film adaptation directed by Slipknot’s Shawn Crahan
Officer Downe pits the LAPD’s ultimate weapon against a slew of super villains.
Officer Downe review
by TS Alan
Adapted from the “one-shot” graphic novel, Officer Downe (portrayed by Sons of Anarchy actor Kim Coates) takes you into a hyper-real Los Angeles for the story of an obsessed, LA policeman who is repeatedly resurrected and returned to active duty via telekinetic energy technology. When a rookie officer named Gable (Tyler Ross) is recruited as part of Downe’s back up team, he discovers there’s much more to the violent super-cop than a mindless lawman hell bent on doling out justice to a twisted menagerie of over-the-top super-villains (The Fortune 500, Headcase Harry, Mother Supreme, Zen Master Flash).
I always cringe a little when I hear a comic or a graphic novel is being turned into a film adaptation. Some really good comics and graphic novels and their characters have suffered at the hands of Hollywood executives and writers (League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Wanted, and to a certain extent Watchmen). Worse offense to me was the trashing of two American comic superheros by Zack Snyder with his 2016 film, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. So when I heard a year ago that Joe Casey (author) and Chris Burnham’s (artist) cult graphic novel “Officer Downe” was going to be given a film adaptation, I did that cringe thing. However, I can gladly say that my cringe reflex was without merit.
Officer Downe is true to its graphic novel roots due impart to author Joe Casey, who wrote the screenplay. In fact, there wasn’t a lot that Casey altered from his and Burnham’s original storyline. It also helped that first time director Shawn Crahan (“Clown” from Slipknot) understood the hyper-world that Casey created for his character. Crahan stylization of the bloody and brutal violence Downe uses to put an end to the odd collection of super villains often exceeds the comic, which is a good thing. Crahan does a great job at capturing the wackiness and the brutality of both Downe and the criminals that he pursues.
This isn’t a perfect film, some of the acting is a bit underwhelming at times. However, Casey and Crahan have captured the heart of the graphic novel, and Kim Coates has certainly captured the soul of Officer Terrence Downe, delivering a great performance as the cult character.
Officer Downe is not going to be for everyone. The graphic novel and film are definitely for a niche audience. However, if you’re into stylized bloody ultra-violence, oddball villains and a little T&A, then this film is definitely for you.
Directed by Shawn Crahan
Written by Joe Casey
Cast: Kim Coates, Sam Witwer, Lindsay Pulsipher, Reno Wilson, Mark Neveldine, Adi Shankar, Tracy Vilar
Run Time: 88 minutes
Release Date: November 18, 2016 (VOD & Limited Run). Out on Blu-ray & DVD, February 28, 2017