Movie Review: "Brooklyn's Finest"

Movie Review: "Brooklyn's Finest"

Summary: Three interconnecting stories about the mean streets of Brooklyn, where crooked cops and gangsters collide.

Published March 9, 2010

BrooklynsFinestSummary : Three interconnecting stories about the mean streets of Brooklyn, where crooked cops and gangsters collide.

Review : Urban gangster films are the westerns of today. Just like westerns, nearly every possible idea has been squeezed out of these flicks whether they take place in Los Angeles, Chicago or New York City. Brooklyn's Finest is a valiant effort to tackle typical storylines that are consistently caked with drugs, guns and the latest urban slang. The talented director, Antoine Fuqua , seemed to have originality in mind, but the stretch for intricate plotlines and to be more than just another gangster flick may have given Finest the final bullet... and there were a lot of bullets in this movie.

One plot would’ve been good enough, but three woven stories felt like a diced version of The Wire crammed into a feature-length film. First, there is Richard Gere , a soon-to-be retired cop who has a drinking problem and a thing for Latin prostitutes. Then, Ethan Hawke is a struggling cop who needs immediate cash to support his struggling family. Lastly, Wesley Snipes and Don Cheadle play old-school gangsters, but one of them is an undercover cop. Will his loyalty be to his friend or the NYPD?

Gere and Hawke, who are  eternally flawless actors, are disposable characters until the ending. Cheadle and Snipes are the heart of the film, but Cheadle seems miscast as a gangster. His 'hood swagger comes across as forced and uncomfortable, and weakens even more next to Snipes, who clearly knows his way around a gangster role (Nino Brown!).

Fuqua relies on some horrifically violent scenes that have as much blood as the Saw franchise. Even with the gore , he manages to perfectly capture New York City with slick cinematography and filming directly in the projects. Still, there isn’t enough meat to the story for an audience to latch on, there's tons of downtime, and predictability plagues the flick.

Like many of these urban crime-dramas, the final scenes are always the best. During the last 15 minutes, the suspense kicks in with every character linking together, helping us to remember the sophistication and grit of Antoine Fuqua's Training Day . Unfortunately, forgettable but Fuqua still has an incredible vision for cinema; I would be interested to see him explore films outside of the crime genre.

Brooklyn's Finest is in theaters now.

Written by Clay Cane

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