I am more excited about the Spider-Man reboot after watching director Jon Watts’ thriller than I was after watching John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein’s Vacation reboot. Where Vacation fails as a comedy, Cop Car overachieves as a tiny, independent thriller. Two boys, instigating Travis (James Freedson-Jackson) and go-along-to-get-along Harrison (Hays Wellford), find a cop car left in the middle of nowhere and take it for a joyride. Kevin Bacon stars as the small town sheriff to whom the car belongs; he attempts to find the car before anyone else does to keep his hanky-panky on the down low.
Nothing is as terrifying as the preteens’ gunplay and their lack of driving knowledge. They learned to drive from "Mario Kart" and apparently have no knowledge about how to handle guns. Looking down the barrel of an AR-15 or speeding down an empty Colorado highway at night without light proves petrifying. The potential for transgressive violence against children is high in Cop Car and lends the film an extra level of terror.
What will Bacon’s corrupt sheriff do when he recovers his stolen vehicle? Or is Shea Whigham of the late “Boardwalk Empire” more of a danger? Unfortunately, these runaways are as oblivious of adult machinations as they are of the inner workings of firearms or automobiles. With its young-boys-in-danger theme, the perfectly paced Cop Car would make a terrific double feature with Mud.