Glass Shield, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: +1/2

John J Johnson (Michael Boatman), a new graduate of the police academy, becomes the first black assigned to a Los Angeles sheriff's office. The black community is angry with the sheriff's office, run by Chief Masse (Richard Anderson), ever since a black died in custody. J helps arrest Ted Woods (Ice Cube) for carrying a pistol in his car, and Ted is later accused of murder. Defended by lawyer Locket (Bernie Casey), Ted's conviction may hinge on J's arrest report. When J discovers his arrest report was changed, he suspects corruption in the force. He joins forces with Deborah Fields (Lori Petty), the only woman on the force, to investigate the source of the problem. Detective Gene Baker (Michael Ironside) and his partner were investigating the murder. He suspects they are responsible for the coverup, but is Chief Masse part of it? Similar to many TV mystery shows, this film is a mix of detective work and trial scenes. But the mix turns out to be fairly entertaining.

THE GLASS SHIELD is also a fairly decent movie. Unlike many films emphasizing racial themes, the director deliberately chose to include only one obscenity and two regular profanities in the dialogue. And some mild and moderate crudities slip in. J and Deborah become friends united by the common prejudices they experience. Although some of the comments made to Deborah take on sexual connotation and some are condescending, they are not exploitive and enhance the prejudices theme. J's family seems to condone his “living in sin” with his girlfriend, but encourages him to marry her. J's girlfriend shows strong, supportive commitment to him. Even violence, another staple in racial stories, is minimized. Gunshots fired at J as he uncovers clues and a fist fight triggered by racial slurs feature no bloody or gory details. An attack on Deborah causes J to confront Baker, who sticks a gun in J's mouth. There are no on-screen killings, but dead bodies are shown a few times. The director should be commended for his refreshing and encouraging effort to focus on the story rather than to exploit violence and pad the script with offensive language.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., NY, NY 10017

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (12) times - Mild 10, Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Once (other)

Profanity: Several (5) times - Regular 2 (J), Exclamatory 3,

Violence: Few times - Moderate (cartoon art shows shooting/blood; guard dog attacks man; gunshot, fistfight, gun threat, dead bodies)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Harassing comments to female police officer

Drugs: None

Other: Ethnic slur written on mirror

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teens & Adults

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