FORT APACHE, THE BRONX (R) - At the AMC Skyline, NTI Llandover, NTI Springfield Cinema, NTI Tysons Center, NTI White Flint, Roth's Montgomery, Roth's Silver Spring West, Showcase Andrews Manor, Showcase Beltway Plaza, Showcase Fairfax Circle, Tenely Circle and Town Downtown.
The movie that managed to libel the South Bronx! See famous bleeding-heart liberals Paul Newman and David Susskind set themselves up for the dreaded charge of racism!
This excitement has been added to "Fort Apache, The Bronx," an otherwise unremarkable cops-and-addicts story, by the protests of Bronx community groups that there are no local good guys depicted in the film. Actually, there are no thoroughly good types at all. The range of characters is from bad to well-meaning-with-faults, the lower range heavily occupied by the Puerto Ricans and blacks who populate the neighborhood, while white policemen of various ethnic extractions get the mixed range.
It is the thesis of the film that crime is so prevalent that the police station is like a fort in hostile territory. There is also crime on the police force, however, ranging from cold-blooded murder to misprision. Such ethical conflicts as exist are necessarily on a primitive moral level, about degrees of illegality -- such as how much drugh use is excusable, and whether one should report the crimes of a colleague.
The pace of the film is also on a low level, with episodic sequences rather than ones that build: more suitable to a television series than a feature film. tBut the accompanying low-keyed acting, mostly in the police parts of Newman, Ken Wahl and Edward Asner, lends the film a sustaining interest.
Does this modest police picture accurately reflect the demography of the Bronx? According to its opening disclaimer, the Bronx also has "law-abiding citizens" and "people struggling to turn the community around." Where is the disclaimer before "Sunday Lovers," pointing out that not all husbands look for fast sex when their wives are called out of town?