Not Finest, But Fair
Review of Brooklyn\'s Finest
by Jorge Ignacio Castillo
3 / 5
In almost every way, Brooklyn’s Finest is a very ordinary cop movie but it’s also one made by very capable hands, which is enough to elevate it above the rest of the herd.
An unabashedly entertaining flick, the only real downside of Brooklyn’s Finest is the grating faux-gravitas (fauvitas?) almost every character displays. This isn’t exactly surprising. Director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) often makes enjoyable flicks infused with stupid, pushy Old Testament morality that comes within a hair’s breadth of spoiling the fun.
Brooklyn’s Finest focuses on three cops in different stages of their careers, all facing decisions that could potentially damn their souls. (In Fuqua’s world, there’s no such thing as a well-adjusted policeman.) Eddie (Richard Gere) is the alcoholic, conflict-avoiding veteran a week away from retirement. Sal (Ethan Hawke, doing his pretty-boy-gone-gritty thing) is a hot-headed team leader who regularly gets away with both murder and money marked for the evidence locker. Deep undercover is Tango (Don Cheadle, and, excuse me, “Tango?”). He’s a cop who’s finding his mission increasingly senseless, and he’s starting to feel more loyalty towards the guy he’s supposed to bring down (Wesley Snipes) than his bosses.
Stock characters? Obviously — but each of these actors brings their A-game to the table and it’s fun to watch them sweat to add even a smidgen of complexity to their lame-duck roles.
For a standard ensemble drama, Fuqua does a tremendous job keeping the story flowing and getting the audience invested in all three leads. This type of film is clearly his niche (as opposed to 2004’s King Arthur, which blew chunks). If he wasn’t so afraid of poking even just a bit of fun at himself, Fuqua might really be on to something. /Jorge Ignacio Castillo