Kent Stryker (Graham Elwood) is the kind of bad, television-style cop you’d find on shows like “Mannix” and “Cannon” and any number of retched programs featuring kill-happy pigs. The film has the gritty, mid-’70s “Quinn-Martin Production” vibe about it, as well. Except that filmmaker Graham Elwood knows that his hero is a douchebag.
In a scene recalling “Me Decade” boneheads like “Baretta” and “Toma”, Detective Stryker pulls one of his grandstanding stunts in a hostage situation — and shoots the hostage long before he eradicates the criminal in a ludicrously long, drawn-out slo-mo sequence that would’ve fit right in on any uniformly banal episode of “The Six Million Dollar Mannequin”.
You call feel the trouble brewin’ when Stryker is partnered with a young “hot shot” yahoo karate expert who wears a smiley face bandana and a star-spangled vest — with no shirt underneath. But, at his therapist’s urging, Stryker works out his angst onstage. With the stiffest delivery since Jack Webb gimped off into Buzzcut Heaven, Stryker gives a combination Joe Friday-style morality lecture and Shatneresque vocal stylings to the disco war horse “I Will Survive”.
Elwood has put together a snappy little flick that oozes irony, and yet retains the feel and character of the very thing it mocks. “Stryker” is smart, funny and thoroughly entertaining.