Vice Captain Volk (Giancarlo Esposito) is running a pretty high-stakes operation which of course goes sour. With an officer down, the suspect takes off running, with Volk cautioning the other officers to hold back. Which doesn’t account for Officer Penny (Aaron Eckhart), a nearby cop on foot patrol, who hears the call and immediately gives chase. The suspect puts up a good chase too, nearly gets away in fact, but Penny corners him in an alley and when they both pull guns, Penny’s still standing, and the suspect is dead. Which is unfortunate for a couple of reasons: a) Penny’s got a trigger-happy reputation as it is, but worse b) the suspect was a kidnapper, and with him dead, there goes the only lead in the investigation. Oops.
Turns out, it’s Volk’s own daughter who’s been kidnapped, and they’ve got about 60 minutes to find her before she expires. Penny is immediately relieved of is gun and his badge, but by god, that’s not going to stop him from saving the day. Ava Brooks, however, might be a bigger impediment. Ava (Courtney Eaton) is a young woman armed with a live feed and a passion for truth. She sticks to Penny like glue and she’s live streaming this entire unsanctioned pursuit. Why Penny allows this to happen is about as puzzling as her cell phone’s amazing battery life, but let’s just be good sports about it and pretend these scenarios are likely.
Jeremy Drysdale’s script offers up a plot that’s drowning in clichés, and director Steven C. Miller doesn’t exactly have any tricks up his sleeve, but if you’re willing to overlook the increasingly unlikely (heck: ridiculous) events, Drysdale and Miller do deliver some wild and constant action. The Line of Duty (yes, there’s some confusion over its proper title) is a forgettable film but it’s oddly watchable in the moment. Eckhart and Eaton have little to no chemistry and in the long and storied history of buddy cop movies, this one isn’t going to make a dent in the genre. It may, however, help bridge the movie void left by an uncaring virus.