Broken City movie poster
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Broken City movie poster

Broken City Movie Review

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Mark Wahlberg. Russell Crowe. Catherine Zeta-Jones. It's a cast made for great things, not Broken City, a flat thriller that finds inspiration in unoriginality.

Wahlberg plays Billy Taggart, a former NYPD detective turned private detective who is hired by the mayor (Crowe) to discover who his wife (Zeta-Jones) is sleeping with. But after a man ends up dead, Taggart realizes that he has become a pawn in something that goes well beyond an affair.

Wait for it... wait for it... Spoiler. Sort of.

The mayor is involved in a questionable real estate deal.

A real estate deal. A f**king real estate deal. Are you kidding me? How come every thriller these days about corrupt politicians involves real estate deals? Real estate deals in movies are about as interesting as real estate deals in real life: boring.

And in Broken City, the real estate deal in question is especially boring. The setup to the film is actually decent, with a protagonist who has his own shady past hired to uncover something simple and straightforward about the mayor's wife, only to have nothing be as simple and straightforward as he first thought. The setup is a tried and true one, but it is up to the filmmakers to take things in new and unpredictable directions.

A real estate deal. Come on.

After the first act, Broken City falls apart thanks to its blatant unoriginality. There's some political intrigue and other momentary bursts of entertainment, but Broken City is a by-the-numbers thriller that brings nothing new to the table. What happens is dull and instantly forgettable, and not nearly as complex as the filmmakers think it is.

There are worse movies in the world, but boring thrillers deserve their own special place in Hell. Especially boring thrillers that waste talented actors.

Broken City is now available on-demand and on Blu-ray April 30, 2013.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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