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Movie Review: Brooklyn's Finest

 
Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 5 years and 2 months ago

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Written 3/3/10

Brooklyn’s Finest, the latest from Director Antoine Fuqua, has been enduring lots of attention these last few weeks. For the most part, I think it relays more towards his masterpiece of Training Day, which granted Denzel Washington with an Oscar nomination and victory as Best Actor, but as I mentioned to a friend of mine the other day, that alone shouldn’t really bank in a thought that this latest piece will reach the same rank. In any way… and for some odd reason based on the trailer alone, I had this strange feeling (always go with your instinct as they say) that it was just a collage of other good/bad-cop films, sprinkled with a little of some bad-guys as well. To much avail, someone else had mentioned that to me right around the time that inkling generated. Glad to say I wasn’t wrong and for what it’s worth, Brooklyn’s Finest has its moments, but it does leave an awkward feeling of umm… yeah, having seen something like this before.

A far cry from the gritty ‘70s policiers it conjures with cock-of-the-walk swagger (Serpico, Prince of the City), Antoine Fuqua’s second-rate retread of his own Training Day is a bloated, multithread drama concerning three burnt-out cops at the end of their seemingly unconnected ropes. Just a week away from receiving his pension, spiritually ruined man-in-blues, “Eddie” (Dick “Dalai Lama” Gere) would rather let crime run rampant and loco than do paperwork; he wakes up each morning to a glass of whiskey (Grandpa’s old cough medicine) and a locked and cocked gun in his mouth. (That didn’t sound right, but it’s true! Watch it and you’ll see!)

Then there’s Officer “Tango” (Don “Iron Man 2’s War-Machine” Cheadle), whose undercover duty has been so overextended, our troops overseas laugh at him! Nah, just kidding… but it is overkill… and so much that his loyalties and moral compass have shifted to protect his gangland peep “Caz” (Wesley “The Blackest Man in the World” Snipes).

Yep, we’ve seen that type of hot mess before. Oh, and gee, will underpaid narcotics cop “Sal” (Ethan “Down-Syndrome face” Hawke) ditch his few remaining scruples to make the down payment on a new house for his baby’s mama, pregnant with twins? (Why is the wife or girlfriend ALWAYS pregnant?)

Across the board, the capable cast of Brooklyn’s Finest works hard to SELL a soulful intensity, which isn’t easy considering that each of the leads could proclaim they’re “getting too old for this bullshit” at any given moment. Unsubtly scripted by former NYC transit worker Michael C. Martin (Showtime’s Sleeper Cell - One of my favorite shows ever), the film plays like the inverse of Crash - an intricate exercise in crosscutting fatalism that points fingers at its characters rather than the audience.

Rock bottom is never as close as it appears and what goes around comes around (and all that mierda), but for a character-supposed-driven piece digging up old tropes about the strains of humanity buried within corrupted people, the constant threat of violence seems to be its ONLY momentum, aside from one of my favorites of all time… my hometown of NYC once again splattered all over the sliver screen.

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