In the line of duty, I watched Line of Duty on Netflix. Searching for new material sometimes yields fine diamonds. Other times, you mine lumps of coal. Line of Duty falls in the middle. If you like car chases, gun battles, fistfights, and explosions, then, by all means, give it a go. Generally, I like Aaron Eckhart (Midway); his starring role is what caught my eye. But, this is his worst work ever, not that the director and writers gave him much help. The annoying live-stream video reporter angle is not new, but she grows on you. The race to save the kidnapped victim does provide some tension, but too many hints give away her location before our heroes figure it out. Overall, I give Line of Duty 3 Gavels and it receives a 58% Rotten Tomatoes rating with a 59% Audience Score, indicating rare agreement across the board.
Officer Frank Penny is back on the streets, still reeling after a career-altering incident two years earlier. Despite an order to “stand down” from his superior officer, Volk, Penny pursues and confronts the perpetrator of an attack on a fellow officer. Killing the felon, he learns that the dead man is the only lead to Volk’s kidnapped daughter. And, thanks to Ava Brooks, Penny’s errors, past and present, are streamed live to the rest of the world.
Maybe it’s the bullet-proof vest he wears throughout the film, but Aaron Eckhart just fails to connect as Frank Penny. On the other hand, Courtney Eaton thrives as the millennial, “it is my job to save the world,” video streamer, Ava Brooks. She saves the film. Like Eckhart, Giancarlo Esposito, currently in The Mandalorian, is a quality actor. As Volk, the part gives him no range other than rage.
When a film is so unknown that it has no Wikipedia page, it’s never a good sign for its bottom line. I doubt Amazon paid much for this one. Still, as one critic puts it, “you find yourself rooting for this cliche-soaked throwback.” Others write “forgettable but watchable.” Ultimately, that’s exactly where I found myself, thinking this is not a very good film, while at the same time rooting for this mis-matched pair to save the little girl. As they say, you could do better, could do worse.