Columbia Pictures' "Hollywood Homicide," starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett, debuted in the top five in the box office charts this past weekend. The police comedy arrested moviegoers to the tune of $11.7 million.

Ford plays Joe Gavilan, maverick Los Angeles Police Department cop who works alongside K.C. Calden (Hartnett), his younger, less streetwise partner.

They are a homicide team assigned to a gangland-style execution of a young rap group on stage at a local hip-hop club, owned by Julius Armas (Percy "Master P" Miller). They set their sights on record mogul Sartain (Issac Washington), who has a bad habit of arranging the demises of rap artists who in the past wanted to get out of their contracts.

While assigned to this case, both Gavilan and Calden have second careers of their own. Gavilan hustles real estate on the side. He's the experienced, smart-aleck one of the duo. Calden is both a yoga instructor and aspiring actor.

During their investigation, Gavilan is working his real estate mojo upon Armas and Hollywood producer Jerry Duran (Martin Landau), constantly on his cellphone with both gentlemen. Calden is setting up for a showcase performance of "A Streetcar Named Desire." Additionally, Gavilan is the target of a nasty internal affairs investigator Bennie Macko (Bruce Greenwood). Unbeknownst to Macko, Gavilan's current lover happens to be radio-talk-show host, Ruby, Macko's ex-mate.

Plus, this film does have its obligatory high-speed chase scene, which for some intended purposes, was more comedically than realistically thrilling. However, it does help wipe away this film's weak plot. Look for cameos from Lou Diamond Phillips and Motown great Gladys Knight (sans the Pips).

For much of this movie, the combination of Ford and Hartnett works. It's an underlying tension between old stud who's losing it (Ford) and young stud who gets it without trying (Hartnett). While Ford will attract an older audience, Hartnett will surely corner the youth market. Talk about drawing in the best of both worlds.

Although I'm not a fan of Ford, this role was meant for him. I've seen his cagey and sadistic side in "What Lies Beneath," so with a touch of that, along with some Walter Matthau type scorn, and his character is both delivers and rebels simultaneously.

Oh how the moviemakers want to recapture that ole "Lethal Weapon" type magic and rebottle it with "Hollywood Homicide." The problem is that all four "Lethal Weapon" films had strong plots to go along with the personality development of the two partners. With "Hollywood Homicide" the development is stressed so much to the point to where their second careers actually interfere and coincide with their police work.

There is no doubt that a sequel to this film will come out, due to the mutual respectable interaction between Ford and Hartnett. The death of this potential series will be the use of weak plots and limited development between the two actors. I could care less if the sequel was a re-hash of a "Lethal Weapon" plot as long as a fresh spin is placed upon it. If the mold isn't broken, simply use it again, but use it effectively. Don't waste these actors' time with another lame plot.

While this weapon lacks anything lethal, "Hollywood Homicide" shoots out a dynamic duo indirectly at three out of four stars.

"Hollywood Homicide" is rated PG-13 for violence, sexual situations, and language. Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Last week's No.1 film, "2 Fast 2 Furious" dropped to the number two spot as "Finding Nemo" resurfaced in the top spot. "Nemo" sold an estimated $29.2 million while "2 Fast 2 Furious" raced along with $19.1 million.

Holding firm at No. 3 was "Bruce Almighty," adding an addition $14.2 million to its collection plate, boosting its overall tally to $193.8 million.

Other films previously previewed that are still in the top ten at the box office is "The Matrix Reloaded," finishing at No. 8 with $5.7 million, "Daddy Day Care" at No. 9 with $2.2 million, and rounding out the bottom is "X2: X-Men United" with $1.7 million.

Dennis J. Wright can be reached at dwright@phoenixvillenews.com.

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