In 2001 director Antoine Fuqua did something that Spike Lee, Jonathan Demme, Kenneth Branagh, plus the brothers Scott (Ridley and Tony) have been able to do: direct Denzel Washington in an Academy Award winning Best Actor role. That film was Training Day. Nine years later he returns to the crime genre with Brooklyn’s Finest.
The film follows the lives of three cops as they deal with the everyday drama of their job. Det. Sal Procida (Ethan Hawke) is a good man with financial struggles who gets pushed to stealing drug money so he can buy his pregnant wife and children a new home that doesn’t have black mold growing in it. Det. Clarence Butler (Don Cheadle) is an undercover cop who is told to rat out a childhood friend who is now an area drug dealer (Wesley Snipes) in order to get the promotion he’s wanted for a long time. Rounding out this trifecta of law enforcement is officer Eddie Dugan (Richard Gere), a veteran cop who has lost the luster for the job and is just trying to struggle through his last few days before retirement.
The cop drama, by all means, has totally been done to death and at first it feels like Fuqua might be dipping back into the well to cash in on the popularity of Training Day, but don’t let their similarities fool you. Brooklyn, by first timer Michael C. Martin, is an extremely well written script with very well developed and engaging characters. What this film lacks in originality it more than made up for by the writing and solid acting from the principal cast. Hawke, Cheadle and Gere all sell their characters and make it very easy for you to sympathize with them and understand them, even when they’re doing things that aren’t necessarily on the level.
Fuqua takes Martin’s script, which wonderfully weaves the stories of these three cops concurrently, and ties them together in the end in a way that doesn’t feel at all cliché or annoying (I’m looking at you Crash!) This film doesn’t hit you over the head with a baseball bat with any message, it just shows what life is like for these three cops and let me tell you: life ain’t easy!
Clocking in at almost two and a half hours the film takes it’s time getting you into the world of these men so that you know who they are, know where they’re coming from and actually care what happens to them. It also has plenty of action and violence to keep things lively and moving.
This isn’t the greatest movie ever and I doubt anyone here is going to be winning any awards, but with no expectations I was quite impressed with what this film had to offer and was thoroughly entertained by it from beginning to end.
Brooklyn’s Finest is presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.40:1 and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. This is a great looking film that looks great on Blu-Ray.
Director Commentary: Your average commentary.
Chaos And Conflict: Life Of A New York Cop: (7 min.) Some general cast and crew interviews.
Boyz N The Real Hood: (6 min.) This featurette focuses on shooting on location and using many locals as extras and such.
Deleted/Extended Scenes: (31 min.) This movie is long enough. These scenes definitely weren’t needed.
An Eye For Detail: Director Featurette: (6 min.) This one is all about Fuqua, it’s okay for a puff piece.
From The MTA to the WGA: Writer Featurette: (5 min.) Probably the best extra on the disc. This talks about writer Michael C. Martin and the story of how he got is first script made into a film.
Three Cops and A Dealer: Character Profiles: (8 min.) Interviews with the actors about their roles. Kind of interesting.
The Blu-ray Disc release also includes a Digital Copy of the film.
I am not a fan of Richard Gere in the slightest. That said, probably the biggest compliment I can pay this film is that it didn’t bother me to see Gere on screen. He’s actually good in this and the rest of the cast is even better. This is also a fantastic script from first timer Michael C. Martin; I can’t wait to see what he does next. If you like a good cop drama, you’re sure to love Brooklyn’s Finest.
Anchor Bay presents Brooklyn’s Finest. Written by Michael C. Martin. Directed by Antione Fuqua. Starring: Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere and Wesley Snipes. Running time: 132 minutes. Rated R for Bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content and pervasive langauge. Released on Blu-ray: June 6, 2010.
Mike Noyes received his Masters Degree in Film from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. A few of his short films can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/user/mikebnoyes. He recently published his first novel which you can buy here: https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Days-Years-Mike-Noyes-ebook/dp/B07D48NT6B/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528774538&sr=8-1&keywords=seven+days+seven+years
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