‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ doesn’t hold back on blood, violence

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, March 4, 2010 2:54pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

The trailer suggests a cop movie with hyper-masculine overtones, a bucket of blood presided over by Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke and the rediscovered Wesley Snipes.

And that’s pretty much how “Brooklyn’s Finest” plays out, although the trailer is tauter and more effective than the movie itself. A slick package with a lot of manufactured angst, this one just doesn’t ring true — and it feels as though it had been cut down from a three-hour epic. Not that I want to see that movie.

Ominous deadlines await three street-level cops. Eddie (Gere) is a uniform guy who can’t wait for his retirement to kick in, seven days hence. His undistinguished service record is a testament to his ability to slide by for 22 years.

Greasy Sal (Hawke) has a brood of (literally uncountable) kids, a pregnant wife (Lili Taylor) and a mold-infested home he desperately wants to move out of. To make the down payment on a new place, all he has to do is find some available drug money sitting around a crime scene and fill his pockets. At least, that’s the plan.

Tango (Cheadle), who’s been undercover too long, is being forced by his higher-ups to rat out an ex-con friend (Snipes) in exchange for a promotion.

All of these dramas, which are unconnected until they crash into each other at the end, are full of — well, let’s let the MPAA ratings board summarize: “Bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content and pervasive language.” That pretty much says it.

And “sexuality,” in this case, mostly means women as prostitutes, strippers or kidnap victims. The only female character with any sort of authority is a police supervisor played by Ellen Barkin and the film treats her with utter contempt.

By the time that happens, “Brooklyn’s Finest” has settled into a very predictable groove, which is familiar from the previous films of director Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”). There’s a surface slickness and plenty of movie-grunge, and most of it rings false.

The performances range across the map. Snipes, whose career has been sidelined of late, gets a few intense moments into his crime lord, but he’s not on screen nearly long enough. Cheadle brings his usual game, but without finding anything new.

Hawke looks as though he’s trying to authenticate his character by not bathing, but he does have some moments of naked desperation.

Gere, on the other hand, typifies the lack of focus in the movie overall: Eddie is supposed to be a passive loser of a cop, but every time he gets up to walk across the room you see that confident Richard Gere strut.

That’s just sloppy. But that’s “Brooklyn’s Finest,” a movie that alludes to larger subjects (police brutality, civilian pushback against police shootings) without finding anything bold to say.

Talk to us

More in Life

Head brewer Hollis Wood at Skookum Brewery is leaving Arlington for a job at Ever Grain Brewing in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. (Andy Bronson / Herald file)
Drink This: Skookum’s head brewer is heading to the East Coast

After 10 years with the Arlington brewery, Hollis Wood will work for Ever Grain Brewing in Pennsylvania.

Seattle Photographer
Celebrate National Pasta Month with fast and easy cacio e pepe

The dish, which translates to “cheese and pepper,” is an upscale Italian version of macaroni and cheese.

Travis Harhai's deep-dish apple crumble pie. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
This award-winning apple crumb pie wowed ‘em at the county fair

The crumb top is what makes it special, says the novice baker who won the blue ribbon at the fair.

Penn Cover Brewery owners, Mitch and Mark Aparicio, at their new Freeland location on Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Brewery in the barn: Here’s Whidbey’s newest craft-beer hotspot

Penn Cove Brewing Co. has expanded its operations to a scenic spot on Whidbey Island with views of Holmes Harbor and the Olympic Mountains.

The 2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid has five-passenger seating and comes standard with all-wheel drive. (Manufacturer photo)
2022 Honda CR-V Hybrid is the lineup’s fuel economy leader

The hybrid has the same superior qualities as the gasoline version, but is miles ahead in eco status.

Old dogs like Merlin provide great company, even while snoring. (Jennifer Bardsley)
This old dog of mine: A tribute to my fluffy couch potato

Sleeping has become this poodle’s full-time job. He’ll take five naps a day, in between turns around the yard.

Marriage basics: How to resolve your relationship conflicts

The top five sources of conflict in relationships? Sex, money, children, in-laws and household chores.

Romantic lakeside dining in Varenna.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Lago di Como: Where Italians honeymoon

It’s one of several beautiful lakes in Italy’s northern Alpine region, a tourism mecca for centuries.

Wintergreen adds a pop of red to the garden all winter long. (Getty Images)
Though they’re cold, fall and winter can be colorful seasons too

You have no shortage of choices when it comes to planting for fall and winter interest in the garden.

Most Read