Cop Car boasts an endearingly simple, gripping premise. A couple of ten year old boys have run away from home and are trekking through the wilderness of either Texas or Colorado when they run across an abandoned cop car. Being ten, they think it would be fun to steal said car and drive it around for a while. What they don’t know is that the car belongs to Kevin Bacon’s mustached, twitchy Sheriff Kretzer. Kretzer is not a nice man; he’s up to some not nice things; and there’s something in the trunk of that car that he really, really needs to get ahold of. The film has problems; the structure of the plot necessitates us spending a lot of time in the company of a couple of really, really stupid ten year olds, so stupid that it occasionally stretches credulity that kids raised in the era of the internet and cable television could actually be this dumb. But the film spins its simple premise into some great tense scenes, like a scene in which a disguised Kretzer is stopped by one of his own police officers in a stolen car, and in some really wonderful dark humor, as in a genuinely hilarious murder that takes place in the climax of the film. The script is a bit underwritten, I think, and even at under ninety minutes, it takes a while to get to the premise of the film. And the ending is a little silly; the film wants to have two climaxes when it really only needed one and, for some reason, the otherwise bleak, mean-spirited script refuses to give us the ending the film really deserves in terms of tone. But the reason to watch this film is, of course, Kevin Bacon, as the twitchy, coked-up, amoral villain. He’s a pure delight, all affable smiles, cold glares and annoyed snorts. And he’s smart, damned smart; he appears a bit bumbling at first, but the longer you’re with him, the more you respect him (frankly, he’s probably a really good sheriff, except for the drugs and murders) and fear him as an antagonist. He’s the reason the movie works as well as it does. Conditionally recommended. 3 stars.
tl;dr – Kevin Bacon’s villainous performance elevates an otherwise fairly average thriller with an admittedly interesting premise. 3 stars.