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The Super Cops

Perhaps the most obscure Batman movie.

Rod Lott October 11th, 2011

A major influence on Edgar Wright's "Hot Fuzz," 1974's "The Super Cops" fictionalizes the almost impossibly effective police work of then-real-life NYPD detectives Dave Greenberg (he of the red Batman-logo ring tee) and Robert Hantz, first seen as themselves via vintage news footage.


Having made 70 drug busts in their area, putting three of the biggest operators out of the biz, Greenburg (Ron Leibman, TV's "The Sopranos") and Hantz (TV's "Dark Shadows") are marked for assassination. But they weren't always that way, and the film directed by "Shaft"'s Gordon Parks chronicles their rise from directing traffic to superheroic status among the community (where they earned the nicknames of Batman and Robin). So eager are they to do some good that their first bust — under the Coney Island pier in Texaco uniforms — isn't even sanctioned.

Before long, they're targeting the real "shit-pushers," but other cops and higher-ups aren't too keen on their methods or success rate, so our dynamic duo encounters friction from both sides of the law.

Now on DVD from Warner Archive, "The Super Cops" goes from exciting to kinda dull to exciting again in its three acts, as the slightly comedic tone bookending the proceedings all but vanishes from the downbeat, chewy center. Liebman and Selby enjoy a simple chemistry as partners, even if it's often tough to tell the two apart. If the story didn't spur from real life, screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. (16 episodes of the hit "Batman" TV series of the 1960s, ironically) would do wise to make them twins.

Not quite the "POW!" as the end scene exclaims, the movie at least is a playful slap on the back. Write your own sound effect. —Rod Lott

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