Veteran Brooklyn cop Eddie (Richard Gere, Pretty Woman, Unfaithful) is a lonely man, bitter and uninterested in taking chances as a cop with a week left until his retirement. Sal (Ethan Hawke, Assault On Precinct 13) is a family man desperate to get his wife and kids out of a moldy house and willing to chance his career on the police force for the betterment of his family. Tango (Don Cheadle, Iron Man 2) is an undercover cop who lost his wife and his real life due to the long amount of time he spent infiltrating gangs. All he wants is a transfer to an office job. His friend Caz, a known drug dealer (Wesley Snipes - Blade, Rising Sun) is being targeted after his release from prison and Tango is asked to betray the friend who saved his life in prison. The lives and fates of these three Brooklyn cops intertwine when Eddie retires, setting a chain of events in motion that will change the lives of all three cops…Brooklyn’s Finest.
The cast is spectacular bringing together Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Don Cheadle, Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) as an informant, Will Patton (Armageddon, Entrapment) as the Lieutenant watching over Tango and Ellen Barkin (Eddie and the Cruisers, Ocean’s Thirteen) as the Federal agent in charge of the undercover operation. The entire cast of stars does a superb job bringing their characters to life. Particularly the four main stars (Snipes, Hawke, Cheadle and Gere) literally become their characters. Hawke and Cheadle shine brighter than their superstar counterparts, but this may be partly due to beefier roles. Gere has one of his nicer roles in recent years here as a particularly flawed character who is still searching for his identity on the verge of his retirement. Cheadle steals the show in scenes which he is put into confrontations, particularly with Patton and Barkin’s characters in the restaurant that covers for their meeting place and his scenes alongside Snipes. Snipes has the least rewarding role of the all-star cast as a drug dealer set free from prison, but he makes do and does a fine job.
Director Antoine Fuqua best known for Training Day and Shooter does as good a job as his impressive cast. He allows for character development where some directors would want to cut that out and get right to the action. His movies are flawed, yes, but those flaws are part of his appeal as it allows characters to grow and the audience to get to know them. In an age of action over story and character development Fuqua does a fine job of letting his audience get drawn into the world of the movie. You almost feel like a silent passenger watching these events go on all around you. From his films like Tears Of The Sun and Training Day you can’t help but get drawn into Fuqua’s world and it is usually a nice and entertaining ride, as it is here.
The screenplay by Michael C. Martin is a bit over-the-top but fairly realistic for the most part. There’s something to be said for how well the characters are developed and how this is a character motivated story. For example, Richard Gere’s character goes from being laid-back, not taking any risks in his last week on the force to risking it all after retirement. A very selfish to self-less character which shows tremendous growth for both character and story.
Brooklyn’s Finest might not be for everybody. There is lots of violence, sexual content and foul language, but lying underneath all that is a character piece that is compelling. The movie is a bit of a downer ala Mystic River and I only mention that movie having read the story recently, but Brooklyn’s Finest is worth viewing despite knowing it might lead to down a depressing road. If for no other reason, this movie is worth it for the superb acting jobs of it’s main stars. The movie gets more interesting the further along it goes so patience would be good, but not necessarily required to enjoy the film. There is also a nice collection of extras that enhance and add to the overall viewing experience. Brooklyn’s Finest also looks…..FINE on Blu-ray. I recommend renting, to those unsure if they’ll like this and buying this film to those interested.
Special Features -
- Audio Commentary With Director Antoine Fuqua
- Chaos & Conflict: The Life Of A New York Cop
- Boyz N The Real Hood
- An Eye For Detail: Director Featurette
- From The MTA To The WGA: Writer Featurette
- Deleted Scenes
- Three Cops And A Dealer: Character Profile
- Brooklyn’s Finest HD Theatrical Trailer
- Additional Trailers - Spartacus: Blood and Sand, The Crazies, Pandorum, Law Abiding Citizen, The Ultimate Fighting Championship
2nd Disc -
- Digital Copy
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