Brooklyn's Finest Movie Review
What do you get when you combine the director of Training Day with a great cast and a gritty police story? A not-so-good version of Training Day, apparently. Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes star in the ensemble drama about three police officers who are struggling to determine right from wrong. Set in the notoriously rough Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Brooklyn's Finest has all the elements required for a hit - but it's riddled with bullet holes.
In the movie, Hawke stars as a cop so desperate for cash that he's willing to commit murder to pay his bills and fund his growing family. Gere plays a cop a week from retirement who is assigned to train rookie cops on their dangerous new beat. He's lonely and so depressed that he has to drink himself out of bed in the morning. Cheadle plays an undercover cop tired of undercover life, who learns that his only way out will be to turn in his good friend Caz (Snipes), a gangster recently released from prison. The cops' lives collide on one fateful night in the projects.
Brooklyn's Finest is a well acted but otherwise unremarkable crime drama that suffers from its ensemble stories and a general lack of excitement. The ensemble approach - especially one that doesn't allow the various stars to share much screen time together - impacts the performances negatively; Hawke, who delivered an Oscar-worthy performance in Training Day, is just OK here. The difference is that he, along with the rest of the actors, don't have the chance to flesh out their characters. Any of the three main storylines could have made effective movies on their own, but crammed together they suffer mightily.
Overall, the picture is unremarkable. Antoine Fuqua has some talent, but is beginning to suggest he's a one-hit wonder. Training Day is an awesome movie, but King Arthur, Tears of the Sun and Shooter range from mediocre to downright forgettable. Brooklyn's Finest falls into the "mediocre" category; it isn't dreadful, but is instantly forgettable.
Brooklyn's Finest has its moments and the various stars do their best to elevate the material, but with too much going on and too little to show for it, this is one that can be skipped.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.