I REALLY enjoy this movie. Little Devon Butler (played by Norman D. Golden II) gets bullied in school by two older guys whose favorite objective is to dunk him upside down into the toilet. Devon's favorite thing to do is play cop and dirtbag with his friend Ray Sanchez. Mr. Fleming is the school principal who thinks Devon is lying about the bullies and calls Devon's grandmother (his only guardian). Devon asks Fleming not to bother his grandmother (played by Ruby Dee) because she works hard as a nurse doing double shifts. This does not move Fleming who tells Devon "you will never learn and I will have done you a great injustice." Devon wants to be a cop so that he can take care of his grandmother. He makes sure she has her police whistle when she goes off to work.
One day Devon and Sanchez see a real detective, Nick McKenna (played by Burt Reynolds), apprehend a suspect by running him down with his car because he "hates to run" and Nick ties him to the car and makes him run alongside back to the police station. Devon is impressed with Nick.
One evening Devon follows the car of Nick's suspect to a warehouse where some small-time gangsters led by Mr. Falcon, a wannabe 50s singer, rub out the suspect. Devon is hiding in the rafters and witnesses his demise - AND Falcon's distinct shoes but not his face. Nick is on the case and Devon won't give any information to the police unless they make him a cop.
Devon ends up riding with Nick as they hunt down suspects. When the bad guys find out about Devon, Falcon visits his grandmother while posing as a new school counselor. Grandmother thinks this has something to do with Devon's antics at school. Falcon asks whether Devon recognizes him and Devon says no. Once Devon sees the shoes, he knows Falcon is a bad guy and yells for his grandmother when Falcon leaves, who overhears Devon.
Devon moves in with Nick for protection but Nick gets overwhelmed at the responsibility of caring for a kid so another cop who has kids gets Devon. The two are doing a radar trap and Fleming drives by 3 miles over the limit. Devon insists they stop him. The cop pulls over Fleming and Devon gets to issue the ticket. Fleming wants to explain his side to get out of the ticket but the 8-year-old with a badge repeats what Fleming told him at school: "you will never learn and I will have done you a great injustice."
Falcon's boys see Devon walking back to the police car and try to run him down with their car. Nick sees them aiming for him from a distance and runs to push Devon out of the way "just like Miami Vice." Nick and Devon are partners again and roust a biker bar. Nick asks around looking for their suspect Bobo while Devon is having "a milk ... in a dirty glass." Bobo gets away on a motorcycle.
The next morning Nick wakes up and finds Devon gone. Panicked, he runs outside asking if anyone's seen him. Up walks Devon who went to get donuts for breakfast. Nick yells at him for going off and Devon yells back that he doesn't want Nick to be his father or his partner and gets away from Nick. Devon ends up at school to get handcuffs from his locker and runs into the two bullies. Devon tells them that he is on police business. The bullies carry Devon to the playground and drops him into the sandbox as the other kids are coming out for recess. This time, Devon fights his way out using a technique he learned from Nick and handcuffs the bullies to the playground fence.
Along comes Falcon's boys to the school looking for Devon. Devon gets the schoolyard kids to create a diversion so he could get away. But, Devon hides in their car. When Sanchez calls Devon on the walkie-talkie, they discover him.
Falcon's boys take Devon back to the warehouse and Falcon where they plan to do away with him. Nick follows Bobo to the warehouse, bursts in and saves Devon and gets the crooks after a great boat chase. Devon, his grandmother and Nick live happily ever after.
This movie has good-hearted humor and a great story. It's one of those movies that everyone in the family can enjoy and one that I could watch over and over. The featurette on the making of the movie is also entertaining.