CODE TWO. MGM, 1953. Ralph Meeker, Robert Horton. Sally Forrest, Jeff Richards. Elaine Stewart, Keenan Wynn, James Craig. Director: Fred M. Wilcox

   Code Two, a movie that I was completely unfamiliar with prior to purchasing it on DVD a few days before watching it, is actually two movies in one. The first, which goes on far too long, is a completely inoffensive, if occasionally dull, semi-documentary film about three recruits at the Los Angeles Police Academy. The story follows the three men as they transition from civilians to motorcycle cops working in the Traffic Division. There’s really nothing particularly wrong with this portion of the movie. But there’s no compelling reason for it to exist, either. That is, unless you are really – and I mean really – interested in police motorcycles.

   Now on to the second movie, so to speak. This far more invigorating portion of the film is a crime drama/murder mystery in which one of the recruits, a hothead by the name of Chuck O’Flair (Ralph Meeker), must redeem himself and apprehend the cattle rustlers who killed his friend and partner, Harry Whenion (Jeff Richards). There’s some romance between O’Flair and his now deceased friend’s girlfriend, but that thankfully takes a back seat to some standard police procedural moments. There’s a motorcycle chase (of course) and there’s the “calling all cars” segment that I am sure the producers insisted be in the film.

   But what really stands out is a final action sequence in which O’Flair must wage a one-man war against a gaggle of cattle rustlers in a slaughterhouse somewhere out in the northern part of Los Angeles County. It’s a fairly violent and rather gritty ending to a film that starts off as a genial look at the day in the life of LAPD recruits.

   Meeker is well-cast and makes as much as he can of the part. Look for Robert Horton, perhaps best known for his work in the Western genre, as Meeker’s partner and for Keenan Wynn and James Craig as the police brass. One last thing. The DVD cover tells me that this movie is “the fastest drama on two wheels!” I suspect that’s a bit of hyperbole.