Dispatched (2014) – By Philip Smolen

Police Officer Jake Wyndem (Jarrod Crooks) is in trouble. A suspect he was chasing fell to his death from the roof of a building after a fight with Jake, so Jake’s Captain (Greg Kuper) takes him off patrol and sits him behind a desk where he’s buried under paperwork. Even worse, his girlfriend has walked out on him. Miserable, Jake finds out that the Captain’s daughter Brooke (Katrina Simyab) is heading out on vacation with a wild friend of hers Jenny (Shannon McDonough). Distraught, the Captain orders Jake to follow Brooke and make sure that she doesn’t get into any trouble (i.e. boys). So reluctantly, Jake follows the girls to their hotel and gets a room nearby to keep an eye on them. Almost immediately, Jenny and Brooke start to attract the attention of different men and Jake finds it necessary to interfere in order to save Brooke from Jenny. He starts to hang out with her and convinces Brooke into thinking that he’s a local EMT. To his surprise, Jake discovers that he really enjoys being with Brooke, but trouble comes looking for the young policeman when the father of the young suspect Jake accidentally killed, tracks him down with revenge on his mind.

Filmed in Wisconsin for around $5000, writer/director Jarrod Crooks’s “Dispatched” is an ambitious indie film that builds from the foundation of many of Hollywood’s famous cop movies from the past 35 years. And while there are clichéd characters in the movie (eager young buck, world weary veteran, coquettish virgin, vengeful criminal) Crooks’s screenplay polishes each of them up enough to keep them interesting. Jake is not the cocksure recruit that knows everything; he’s going through growing pains and really wants to be a good cop. Brooke is not a carefree scatterbrain who freely gives herself to Jake, she wants to be a serious artist and she’s coming to terms with the realities of her life with an overprotective father.

The film starts out with a fabulous roof top chase as Jake pursues his quarry. Crooks’s does a great job editing this scene as it crackles and immediately launches the film into overdrive. There are also some great fight scenes sprinkled throughout the movie and they are well staged and exciting.

What disappointed me somewhat is that the middle part of the film moves at a much more leisurely pace as Jake romances Brooke. Many scenes are played for comedy and this diffuses much of the film’s early kinetic energy. Nothing else in the movie comes close to that initial burst of excitement, not even the climax when Jake has to save Brooke. It’s almost two different movies. Both have merit, but they don’t mesh together well enough.

Crooks gives a good performance and he’s got a nice physical presence onscreen. His Jake is tough as nails during the action scenes and is appropriately awkward in the tender scenes with Brooke. Katrina Simyab is bubbly and vivacious as Brooke and she knows how to light up a scene. Greg Kuper and Shannon McDonough give solid supporting performances.

Despite the loss of energy during the film’s middle act, “Dispatched” is still a fun action romp. Jarrod Crooks has made a solid enough matinee movie that should please a lot of moviegoers.

For more information on “Dispatched”, please visit these sites:

http://jarrodcrooks.com and http://dispatchedmovie.weebly.com