Perhaps one has concocted a stew riddled with too many ingredients. Perhaps there was-upon the zealousness of one’s imagination- a grand idea to develop a tasty and full cinematic meal able to satisfy many fickle fans of modern day cop dramas.
Hence the muddled, dark, seemingly hopeless soup that is Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest. Although realistic in its depiction of three separate officer’s lives, Brooklyn’s Finest wallows within its structured irony, and develops over thick and hearty plot-lines forming characters and situations all seen before.
On screen, the usual: the desperate, down on his luck officer known as Sal (Ethan Hawke) who is on his way toward becoming corrupt due to wanting to provide for his wife and three children, and oh, let’s not forget the one child on the way to thicken the rehashed motivation.
Next up: the undercover officer. Tango, portrayed by the often wonderful Don Cheadle, wants out. He’s in too deep. From a dramatic stand-point, further examination or perhaps solely focusing on Tango’s conundrum, may have made a better movie overall. Tango desires a much deserved promotion to Detective Third Grade; but, of course, he doesn’t get it, Cheadle, as Tango, brings a character to the screen reminiscent of Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Billy Costigan in the Oscar winning The Departed, and is enjoyable to watch as his life-which has already unraveled beneath him- becomes more complex when an old adversary known as Caz is released from prison. Caz, (Wesley Snipes) a character seemingly re-imagined from the script of New Jack City, is about as interesting as a bowl of chicken broth, and lacks the substance to develop a much needed arc within the story, something indeed crucial within the second act of a story.
Eddie (Richard Gere) is burned out, depressed and disenchanted, and roams the streets of Brooklyn with a scowl. Later he does come upon one last attempt to redeem his ailing spirit, but it comes as no surprise and lacks power.
Antoine Fuqua’s attempt to capture the grimy magic from Training day clearly fails in his latest endeavor. Brooklyn’s Finest appears to be a conglomeration of themes and characters from stories that may have inspired previous work from the talented former music video director, but one may not care when it all boils down and fuses against the psyche of the viewer.