ANALYSIS: KOJAK was a great starring vehicle for Telly Salavas in the 1970s, but the new KOJAK starring Ving Rhames is
a horrible misfire. It has the style and writing of a very bad made-for-cable-TV filler with the music and style to fit it.
At times, it works as a cop drama while going to moments that stops it dead in it's tracks. I found myself pushing the fast
forward button to get through the moments that slogged the movie down. At times, I even wanted to stop watching it and eject
the tape, but I survived because I have a review to write on this.
The only characters that have personality in this badly written vehicle are Ving Rhames, Chazz Palminteri, and the women
playing Kojak's girlfriend (who works for the District Attorney). The scenes between Ving and Chazz (playing Kojak's Captain
buddy) are the scenes that work the best out of this mess. If they could have abandoned the idea of a KOJAK remake and written
a gritty cop drama around these two, then this would really work. The detectives working under Kojak just seem to be an afterthought.
They don't seem to have anything important to do. It's always up to Kojak to find the important lead. The detectives have
no visible on-screen personalities. Then the storyline with the kids who lost their mom (who was murdered by the guy Kojak
is trying to find) just is the most boring part of this TV movie and could have been cut down. I want to see KOJAK investigating
crimes. I am wondering if what Kojak does at the end of the pilot will come back to bit him later on.
Then the direction and cinematography of this movie is just all over. You have the freaky slow-mo stuff that just makes
me wonder when they will be back to normal speed.
Then there is the bad music for this TV movie. Please no more B-movie cop thriller music. Ugh! That brings me to my biggest
points. The script was poorly written and the TV movie could have been edited down to a lean hour and it would have made a
better (and yet forgettable) hour of TV. If the new KOJAK series is going to be like this, skip it and go watch the original
KOJAK (season one is coming to DVD next week) or CSI or THE SHIELD. I can't see KOJAK surviving for long. I think USA was
impressed by Ving's performance as Kojak (he has the lollipops and hat down pat, but he's no Telly Salavas) while ignoring
the problems with the TV pilot. I rather have had last year's FRANKENSTEIN TV movie go to series or TOUCHING EVIL come back
for a second season instead of the disappointing junk known as the new KOJAK series. KOJAK is DOA (Dead On Arrival).