Published Mar 04, 2010The first words we hear uttered in Brooklyn's Finest, before any scenery or characters come into focus, are "It's about right and wrong." And there you have it: that sums up this brutal cop drama from Training Day's Antoine Fuqua quite astutely. The guys who do wrong get what's coming to them and the guys who do right survive. Groundbreaking cinema. Cough.
Featuring Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Wesley Snipes, Vincent D'Onofrio and a ludicrously miscast Richard Gere, Brooklyn's Finest centres upon three police officers: a detective, an undercover cop and a beat-cop (that's the most diversity you'll get here), each of whom dabbles in corruption, greed, lies and deceit, all seemingly unrelated to each other until their paths end up tied together at a deadly location.
And the rope that's tying them together is what you're going to want to hang yourself with after the first 20 minutes. Take all the stereotypes you can think of when it comes to cops, gangsters and Brooklyn ― black drug dealers, gold rope chains, jerry curls, Catholic Italians, women in cheetah print leotards, corn rolls, rattails, bitches and hos ― and you'll get the paint-by-numbers tapestry of this film. Everyone looks like a version of Flava Flav, except Ethan Hawke, whom we're actually supposed to believe is Puerto Rican.
We are accosted with images of naked women ironing drug money, just like in New Jack City (which Wesley Snipes was also in), street gangs sporting a redonkulous amount of bling, buckles and leather, just like in Michael Jackson's "Bad" video (which Wesley Snipes was also in), mixed in with the brutal drug imagery of Juice (which Wesley Snipes....) and the cross-racial pairings of Jungle Fever (which Wesley...).
It seems Fuqua just wanted to create a badly brewing cauldron of Snipes's previous flops. The only storyline given an ounce of depth is Don Cheadle's, as an undercover cop torn between his duty as a police officer and his loyalty to a gangster who saved his life. His performance is also the most nuanced, while Ethan Hawke and Richard Gere's narratives are so selfish and self-absorbed it's hard to care about their outcomes.
Speaking of which, who decided it was a good idea to cast Richard Gere as a hardened cop with a drinking problem and a death wish? Just stick to playing lovelorn husbands, thank you very much, your swagger and pretty boy looks don't give your character depth.
If you actually stay for the full running time, you'll end up leaving the cinema hating women, blacks, Catholics, Muslims, Puerto Ricans, cops, civilians, the world, and you'll want to punch Antoine Fuqua in his coin-slot (where this movie undoubtedly came out of).
The Departed this most certainly is not. Avoid like Brooklyn. (Alliance)