Brooklyn's Finest
Screw the line, I’m a cop and I want my slurpee NOW!

Theatrical Release Date: 03/05/2010
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Brian F. O’Byrne, Will Patton, Ellen Barkin, Lili Taylor, Vincent D’Onofrio

Barging its way into theaters this weekend is director Antoine Fuqua’s attempt at resurrecting the success of “Training Day” on the East Coast … all the while retraining the use of Ethan Hawke. Though all I really have to say is that if this is “Brooklyn’s Finest”, I’d hate to see their worst.

The story concerns three cops; Ethan Hawke is taking money from busts and burned out; Don Cheadle is working undercover and burned out; Richard Gere is seeing a prostitute and so burned out he doesn’t care to stop crimes because he’s a week away from retiring with a full pension. But how will it end? If you’ve seen any films about dirty/washed up cops, you already know and you probably don’t care.

To that point, I mention that the overly formulaic and gimmicky script comes from first time feature film screenwriter Michael C. Martin. While I can blame Fuqua for his bad cinematic math (length of film does not equal depth of story nor does poor lighting equal gritty filmmaking), it’s Martin’s job to find a way to develop characters and avoid ridiculous plot contrivances like having the three main characters LITERALLY cross each other on the street near the end of the film, thereby “connecting” them. They had already quasi crossed paths and even acknowledged one another in some way earlier in the film, leave it at that. There is one instance of the story unfolding in a manner not completely foreshadowed but it does little to balance things out.

What the audience gets is a two hour plus film that would have best been served by condensing it all into a short film, where the lack of character development could have been excused (and editing could have done that alone by taking out scenes that didn’t matter).

The acting all around is okay, though Ethan Hawke seemed to be channeling Christian Bale’s Batman voice. Aside from that, he, Cheadle and Gere dutifully go along with what was apparently asked of them. There are numerous supporting actors of note (Will Patton, Ellen Barkin, Wesley Snipes, Vincent D’Onofrio) and they help to keep things interesting but this lumbering behemoth of a film cannot be tamed.

Really, the best thing I can say about “Brooklyn’s Finest” is that it displays the greatest use of a zip tie ever put to film … too bad that novelty was crammed into a film that gets a 1.5 out of 5. Even though “Cop Out” has more poorly shot action, and is a comedy that shows no real Kevin Smith footprint, I’d still see that ten times before catching this one if I was in the mood for a film about police officers in New York. In this instance, Mr. Fuqua, “King Kong” really does have something on you: a better film.