To Live And Die In LA wears its stupidity proudly. It flaunts it’s love of cliches while it turns them on their head.
–SPOILERS — if you ain’t seen it, watch it and come back, sport.
William Freidkin invented most of the damn cliches in the first place with The French Connection. Cops who don’t play by the rules! Car chases in dirty city back streets! Gun fights! Here he basks in his own glory, turning up every dial, taking it up an 80s coke notch or two.
But Friedkin is a man who wants to have his coke and snort it. He wants the car chases, the cop who gets killed just before his retirement, the revenge story. He wants you to settle in for a night with the old tropes.
But then he keeps pulling the rug out from under you. The good guy is blackmailing a woman into having sex with him. The good guy gets an FBI agent killed. The good guy gets himself shot in the face. Imagine if Lethal Weapon killed off Martin Riggs before the final reel. This is what we’re talking about here. The viewer spits out his pizza in shock.
Life flows in aftermath… the good guy’s squeaky clean partner winds up dressing like his idol, eager for some blackmail sex of his own. The story can start again. Lethal Weapon can set itself up for a series of ever-decreasing-returns sequels, and Joe Pesci, but over there not matter how much Riggs took his pants off he never went in for a spot of icky blackmail sex.
To Live And Die In LA: a wild and stupid ride where not everyone gets out alive.