The Rookie (1990)

R | 121 mins | Drama | 7 December 1990

Cinematographer:

Jack N. Green

Editor:

Joel Cox

Production Designer:

Judy Cammer

Production Companies:

Warner Bros. Pictures , Malpaso Productions
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HISTORY

Several sources, including the Jan 1991 Box, noted that The Rookie was part of a longtime agreement between Warner Bros. and director-actor Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productons, by which he would make an action film in return for the studio subsidizing one of his “lofty, sure-to-lose-money dramas,” such as Bird (1988, see entry). Warner Bros.’ price for bankrolling Eastwood’s personal White Hunter, Black Heart (1990, see entry) was The Rookie, a film in the then-popular “buddy cop” genre, but also in the spirit of Eastwood’s earlier series of Dirty Harry films (1971-1988, see entries), which ended two years earlier with the unsuccessful The Dead Pool.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, as well as the 11 Jun 1990 LAT and 22 Jun 1990 HR, The Rookie was filmed on locations in Los Angeles, San Jose, and Mojave, CA. The film’s elaborate freeway chase scene was shot during a six-hour night in Jun on a closed, two-mile section of I-680 east of San Jose. The Mojave Airport, now the Mojave Air and Space Port, doubled for Los Angeles International Airport in the climactic shootout. A vacant warehouse near Eighth and Figueroa streets in downtown Los Angeles was used for an explosion scene featuring a Mercedes-Benz 500SL flying through a window. The 9 Sep 1990 Chicago Sun-Times reported that the production actually destroyed two 500SL prototypes, which normally would have been used in crash tests in Germany. Police headquarters interiors were shot at the former Los Angeles Herald-Examiner building at 1111 S. Broadway. Principal photography ... More Less

Several sources, including the Jan 1991 Box, noted that The Rookie was part of a longtime agreement between Warner Bros. and director-actor Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso Productons, by which he would make an action film in return for the studio subsidizing one of his “lofty, sure-to-lose-money dramas,” such as Bird (1988, see entry). Warner Bros.’ price for bankrolling Eastwood’s personal White Hunter, Black Heart (1990, see entry) was The Rookie, a film in the then-popular “buddy cop” genre, but also in the spirit of Eastwood’s earlier series of Dirty Harry films (1971-1988, see entries), which ended two years earlier with the unsuccessful The Dead Pool.
       According to production notes in AMPAS library files, as well as the 11 Jun 1990 LAT and 22 Jun 1990 HR, The Rookie was filmed on locations in Los Angeles, San Jose, and Mojave, CA. The film’s elaborate freeway chase scene was shot during a six-hour night in Jun on a closed, two-mile section of I-680 east of San Jose. The Mojave Airport, now the Mojave Air and Space Port, doubled for Los Angeles International Airport in the climactic shootout. A vacant warehouse near Eighth and Figueroa streets in downtown Los Angeles was used for an explosion scene featuring a Mercedes-Benz 500SL flying through a window. The 9 Sep 1990 Chicago Sun-Times reported that the production actually destroyed two 500SL prototypes, which normally would have been used in crash tests in Germany. Police headquarters interiors were shot at the former Los Angeles Herald-Examiner building at 1111 S. Broadway. Principal photography for The Rookie began 16 Apr 1990, the 17 Apr 1990 HR noted. The film cost $30 million, according to the 9 Jun 1990 SFChron.
       The 23 Sep 1990 LAT noted that rock vocalist David Coverdale recorded “You Can Never Forget Where You Came From" for the soundtrack of The Rookie. However, neither the song nor Coverdale appeared in credits.
       With the exception of a rave from the 6 Dec 1990 HR, reviews were generally poor. The 5 Dec 1990 DV called The Rookie a “dimwitted” and “flabby two-hour rollercoaster ride.” Despite the 30 Nov 1990 HR remark that Warner Bros. was “expecting upwards of an $80 million gross,” the 21 Jan 1991 Var reported that the film “bombed.”
       End credits contain the following information. “The producers wish to express their sincere appreciation to the City of San Jose and the San Jose International Airport.” More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Boston Globe
22 Apr 1990
p. 86.
Box Office
Jan 1991
Section R, p. 5.
Chicago Sun-Times
9 Sep 1990
p. 55.
Daily Variety
14 Jun 1990
p. 6.
Daily Variety
5 Dec 1990
p. 2, 16.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Apr 1990.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1990
p. 21.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Nov 1990
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Dec 1990
p. 5, 9.
Los Angeles Times
10 May 1990
Calendar, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
11 Jun 1990
Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
24 Jun 1990
Calendar, p. 24.
Los Angeles Times
23 Sep 1990
Calendar, p. 66.
Los Angeles Times
7 Dec 1990
Calendar, p. 10.
New York Times
7 Dec 1990
p. 19.
Orange County Register
10 Jan 1990
Section L, p. 4.
San Francisco Chronicle
9 Jun 1990
Section C, p. 3.
Variety
10 Dec 1990
pp. 84-85.
Variety
21 Jan 1991
p. 97.
Variety
29 Apr 1991
p. 38.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Warner Bros. Presents
A Malpaso Production
In Association with Kazanjian/Siebert Productions
Distributed by Warner Bros., A Time Warner Company
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
Key 2d asst dir
2d 2d asst dir
Dir, 2d unit
1st asst dir, 2d unit
2d asst dir, 2d unit
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
'A' cam op
'B' cam op
1st asst 'A' cam
1st asst 'B' cam
2d asst cam
Still photog
Chief lighting tech
Asst chief lighting tech
Key grip
2d company grip
Dolly grip
Dir of photog, 2d unit
Cam op, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
1st asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
2d asst cam, 2d unit
Key grip, 2d unit
2d company grip, 2d unit
Chief lighting tech, 2d unit
Asst chief lighting tech, 2d unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Illustrator
FILM EDITORS
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Asst prop master
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Set des
Set des
Standby painter
Const coord
COSTUMES
Men's cost supv
Men's costumer
Women's cost supv
Women's costumer
MUSIC
Mus ed
Scoring mixer
SOUND
Sd mixer
Boom op
Cableman
Supv sd ed
Supv sd ed
Sd ed
Sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
Foley ed
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Sd mixer, 2d unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff supv
Spec eff foreman
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Spec eff crew
Titles and opticals by
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Transportation coord
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Prod accountant
Prod secy
Asst loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Asst to Mr. Eastwood
Asst to Mr. Eastwood
Trainer to Mr. Sheen and Ms. Braga
Prod office asst
First aid
Unit pub
Unit pub
Casting asst
San Jose atmosphere casting
Craftservice
Scr supv, 2d unit
Prod secy, 2d unit
Transportation capt, 2d unit
Picture car capt, 2d unit
Aerial coord/Pilot
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
“All The Things You Are,” written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II
“Red Zone,” written by Kyle Eastwood and Michael Stevens.
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 December 1990
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 7 December 1990
Production Date:
began 16 April 1990
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Copyright Date:
7 December 1990
Copyright Number:
PA492387
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Lenses
Panaflex® Cameras and Lenses by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
121
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
34797
SYNOPSIS

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer David Ackerman dreams that he applies for a detective’s badge, but the police board accuses him of murdering his little brother. He awakens in a sweat. Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Nick Pulovski and his partner, Powell, follow their informant, Morales, to a double-deck automobile transporter loaded with expensive stolen sports cars. When Pulovski and Powell confront car thieves “Loco” Martinez and Ken Blackwell, the German driver-ringleader, Strom, shotguns Powell from behind. Pulovski chases the truck onto a freeway, but Loco Martinez drops cars in front of him, forcing Pulovski to swerve. Loco unhooks the trailer, allowing the thieves to escape. Later, Pulovski identifies Blackwell and Martinez in the “mug” files, but Lieutenant Ray Garcia orders him to forget them because Homicide is taking over the case. Garcia introduces Pulovski to David Ackerman, his new, younger partner. Pulovski disapproves of Ackerman and barely speaks when they leave headquarters. When Pulovski speeds through traffic, Ackerman asks what is going on, but the veteran says he will find out as they go. Pulovski drives to a hotel restaurant where Strom eats lunch with two gangsters. The cops take a nearby table, and to Pulovski’s surprise, the waiter greets “Mr. Ackerman” by name. Strom assures the gangsters that despite the recent destruction of stolen cars, his vehicle-dismantling “chop shops” are still in business. When Strom’s girl friend, Liesl, sits down at the table, Pulovski approaches them. He lays Powell’s destroyed LAPD badge on the table, jams his cigar in Strom’s coffee, and leaves. Ackerman asks who Strom is, but Pulovski remains silent. They drive to one of Strom’s garages in East Los Angeles, where Pulovski hassles Max, a ... +


Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer David Ackerman dreams that he applies for a detective’s badge, but the police board accuses him of murdering his little brother. He awakens in a sweat. Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Nick Pulovski and his partner, Powell, follow their informant, Morales, to a double-deck automobile transporter loaded with expensive stolen sports cars. When Pulovski and Powell confront car thieves “Loco” Martinez and Ken Blackwell, the German driver-ringleader, Strom, shotguns Powell from behind. Pulovski chases the truck onto a freeway, but Loco Martinez drops cars in front of him, forcing Pulovski to swerve. Loco unhooks the trailer, allowing the thieves to escape. Later, Pulovski identifies Blackwell and Martinez in the “mug” files, but Lieutenant Ray Garcia orders him to forget them because Homicide is taking over the case. Garcia introduces Pulovski to David Ackerman, his new, younger partner. Pulovski disapproves of Ackerman and barely speaks when they leave headquarters. When Pulovski speeds through traffic, Ackerman asks what is going on, but the veteran says he will find out as they go. Pulovski drives to a hotel restaurant where Strom eats lunch with two gangsters. The cops take a nearby table, and to Pulovski’s surprise, the waiter greets “Mr. Ackerman” by name. Strom assures the gangsters that despite the recent destruction of stolen cars, his vehicle-dismantling “chop shops” are still in business. When Strom’s girl friend, Liesl, sits down at the table, Pulovski approaches them. He lays Powell’s destroyed LAPD badge on the table, jams his cigar in Strom’s coffee, and leaves. Ackerman asks who Strom is, but Pulovski remains silent. They drive to one of Strom’s garages in East Los Angeles, where Pulovski hassles Max, a parolee mechanic, and insults the owners, knowing they are watching on security monitors. That night, Ackerman’s girl friend, Sarah, asks why he is so distant, and he admits fearing that something bad is about to happen. The next day, Pulovski takes his partner to Casa Blanka, an East Los Angeles club, where Loco Martinez hangs out. Leaving Ackerman at the bar, Pulovski goes into the back room and sees an informant, “Little” Felix, who is betting on a dogfight. Pulovski pulls Felix into the men’s room and asks why his information is always out of date. At the bar, Loco Martinez pickpockets David Ackerman’s police badge. When Ackerman gets into a fight with several customers, Pulovski fires a shot into the air and pulls him out of the club. They drive to an auto-wrecking yard. Spotting Morales, Pulovski gets into a crane, swings a large magnet over Morales’s car, picks it up, and slams it around until Morales agrees to continue giving information. Pulovski takes Ackerman to his apartment, and the rookie is impressed with Pulovski’s racing trophies, photographs, and vintage motorcycle collection. Ackerman demonstrates his knowledge of motorcycles and agrees to get one of Pulovski’s bikes working again. The next day, Pulovski tips off television news before the LAPD raids Strom’s chop shop. He tells reporter Connie Ling he wants the department’s Auto Theft Division to get the same attention as Homicide, because he is making the main car thief “feel the pinch.” At his expensive lair, Strom kicks the television set in anger. He tells Liesl they will soon be leaving Los Angeles, but first he has to tie up “loose ends.” Later, David Ackerman takes his girl friend, Sarah, to his wealthy parents’ house for his mother’s birthday and discovers that his father, Eugene Ackerman, invited Nick Pulovski after seeing him on the news with David. Eugene slips money into Pulovski’s pocket and asks for a guarantee of his son’s safety. Outside, Pulovski gives the money to David Ackerman, but when David drops the money and goes back inside, Pulovski pockets it. Meanwhile, Strom lures Morales to his lair to be killed, but Morales is able to plant a hidden microphone before Liesl shoots him. Eavesdropping on Strom’s conversations, Pulovski hears him planning a robbery. That night, Loco Martinez plants smoke bombs in the bathroom and dining room of a casino. As customers panic and run, Ken Blackwell, Liesl, and Strom grab Alphonse, the casino manager, and force him to unlock the vault. When Alphonse opens the door, Nick Pulovski and David Ackerman step out and arrest the crooks. However, Liesl distracts Ackerman, Strom hits Pulovski, and in the struggle Liesl shoots the younger cop in the back. Outside, Loco Martinez drives away as a dozen police cars arrive. Discovering the vault empty, Strom, Blackwell, and Liesl take Pulovski hostage and demand $2 million and one of Lt. Garcia’s police cars. After the thieves leave, David Ackerman stumbles out of the casino, saved by his bulletproof vest. Police Captain Hargate, believing Ackerman was shot in the back because he was running away from his partner, tells Lt. Garcia the department will not pay any ransom money. Garcia temporarily relieves Ackerman of duty. Feeling the sting of the captain’s accusation, David Ackerman agonizes over the memory of his little brother falling to his death from a roof, after calling to him for help. Over Sarah’s objection, Ackerman arms himself and heads out to save his partner. Meanwhile, Strom and Liesl hold Pulovski prisoner at a chop shop. Max, the mechanic, shows Strom that the garage is rigged to explode with the push of a remote control button. Elsewhere, Ackerman rides one of Pulovski’s motorcycles to the Casa Blanka in East Los Angeles. Swaggering in, he starts a fight, pulls his gun, and sets the place on fire. With Ackerman’s gun at his head, the bartender reveals that Little Felix might know Pulovski’s whereabouts. However, when Ackerman arrives at Felix’s dry cleaning shop, Loco Martinez has already killed him. Martinez tries to strangle Ackerman from behind, and in the struggle they crash through the front window. Martinez yells to Latino passersby that Ackerman killed Felix, but the young cop holds them off with his gun. He rides to his father’s office and asks for $2 million. Eugene Ackerman is angry that his privileged son is willing to risk his life as a cop, but David accuses his father of blaming him for his brother’s death. Eugene agrees to get the money, but only if David forgives himself for the childhood tragedy and quits the LAPD. Meanwhile, as Liesl gives Pulovski a drink of water, he spits it in her face. She straddles him, cuts his forehead with a razor blade, and threatens to castrate him if he cannot perform sexually. David telephones Sarah at their apartment, and she informs him that Lt. Garcia is there, waiting to talk with him. Moments later, Wang and Lance, two police officers sent to find Ackerman, inform him that Lt. Garcia wants him downtown. Realizing Sarah is in danger, Ackerman handcuffs the two cops together and hurries home. Sarah watches Lt. Garcia being interviewed on television and realizes her visitor is a fraud. She struggles with the imposter, Loco Martinez, and tries to escape, but he chokes her. David Ackerman crashes through the door on a motorcycle, and when Loco grabs a knife, Sarah shoots him with David’s gun. At the garage, Liesl knocks Pulovski off his chair, but it frees him to bring his handcuffed hands over his feet and knock her unconscious. When Max attacks him, Pulovski strangles the mechanic and drops him down a freight elevator shaft. Strom and Liesl trap Pulovski, but Ackerman arrives in time to chase them off and unlock Pulovski’s handcuffs. Seeing Strom and Liesl leaving in a van, Pulovski realizes they will blow up the garage as soon as they get far enough away. He jumps into a car, orders Ackerman into the passenger seat, and drives through a window to the roof of an adjacent building seconds before the garage explodes. Meanwhile, at the designated “drop spot,” Lt. Garcia and Eugene Ackerman arrive with a money-filled suitcase and hand it to Ken Blackwell. Blackwell speeds away in a van, but the approaching Pulovski and Ackerman run him off the road. Taking over the van, they put a switchblade to Blackwell’s neck and order him to follow his escape route. Parking above a manhole, they escape through a trap door, leaving their pursuers an empty van. They emerge from another manhole and get into a second van. Ken Blackwell drives to the airport where Strom and Liesl wait beside a private jet. As he steps out of the van with the suitcase and hands it to Strom, the ringleader shoots him. Pulovski and Ackerman return fire and shoot the pilot, forcing Strom and Liesl to run. The suitcase breaks open on the runway, spilling money. The wounded pilot tries to run down the two cops, and when they shoot him again, he is struck by another airplane. Ackerman chases Liesl upstairs through the airport passenger area and shoots her in the head, while Pulovski, grabbing a security guard’s pistol, pursues Strom through the baggage area. Strom rides on a conveyor belt up to the passenger area baggage carousel. Hearing Pulovski’s gun click behind him, Strom turns and wounds the detective, but before he can fire a second shot, Ackerman shoots him. As the criminal lies wounded, Pulovski yanks a silver bullet off a chain hanging from Strom’s neck, puts it in his revolver, and kills him. Later, David returns to headquarters and finds Nick Pulovski sitting in what used to be Lt. Garcia’s office. Pulovski introduces Ackerman to his new partner, Heather Torres. Ackerman treats her as dismissively as Pulovski used to treat him. The old veteran sends Ackerman and Torres out to arrest somebody. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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