CONTAINS ****ING SPOILERS
Rewatching this distinctly minor Eastwood action movie for the first time since seeing it sometime in early 1991 at the now-defunct Cannon Portsmouth, it's a film that falls right in the middle. On the one hand it's a monumentally silly and implausible cop thriller that's riddled through with rotten dialogue and plot holes; but on the other hand it's a monumentally silly and implausible cop thriller that's been given a level of A-list treatment that it really doesn't deserve in terms of production values, photography and direction. It certainly isn't one of Eastwood's finest films, but as a dunderheaded action flick it is rather good fun.
Charlie Sheen is The Rookie: shiny new partner to grizzled, cynical, hardbitten veteran Eastwood in the LAPD's auto theft division; up against a gang of car thieves led by Raul Julia and Sonia Braga (he's Puerto Rican, she's Brazilian, and they've been cast as Germans for who knows what kind of reason). They specialise in trafficking stolen luxury cars, and more importantly they killed Eastwood's former partner. Sheen's inexperienced dilettante is precisely what the job doesn't require. And when Eastwood is taken hostage by the unintentionally hilarious villains, Sheen has to man up and find him....
"This isn't just a job, it's a ****ing adventure!" bellows their captain for no good reason, as idiocy piles upon idiocy. There's no two ways about it - hell, there's no one way about it: The Rookie is stupid beyond the mere confines of Earth and is genuinely stupid on a cosmic level. An example: in order to track down Eastwood's captors, Sheen sets fire to a bar, yet mysteriously he isn't prosecuted for arson! It's also notable for a frankly unaccountable sequence in which Eastwood's character, tied to a chair, is raped by Sonia Braga's character.
If it wasn't for some well-executed action sequences and car stunt action (particularly an early chase involving a transporter full of cars), the movie would be a total disaster instead of merely a mess. Certainly it's very nicely shot and put together - it has that late seventies look to it and could in places pass for Dirty Harry 6 - and Clint is obviously having fun with it, but good as he is, this is strictly routine and rather more sweary than usual. Enjoyable in parts, but very minor fare. (Watched on BluRay.)