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"Brooklyn's Finest" Review

Antoine Fuqua, who guided Denzel Washington to an Oscar in Training Day, comes back to the gritty cop genre with Brooklyn's Finest, a film which takes a little too long to get to a bewildering and somewhat unsatisfactory ending.

It intertwines a trio of plots involving Richard Gere as a burned-out, undistinguished patrolman a week from retirement; Ethan Hawke as a stressed-out family man with a wife and four kids in a moldy house and twins on the way; and Don Cheadle as a deep undercover operative in a drug gang whose real life is disintegrating and is looking to get out of his cover and get behind a desk. Gere is apathetic about everything; Hawke (looking pretty haggard; I thought he was Kevin "Johnny Drama" Dillon at first) is trying to steal drug money to pay for the down payment on a new home; Cheadle is torn between taking down the drug lord (a very good Wesley Snipes basically playing a later-life Nino Brown from New Jack City) who saved his life when he was undercover in prison.

Other than a couple of coincidental brushes during the story, the three never cross paths until the very end and even then don't interact. The ending was a mess because one cop's tale doesn't make much sense from a motivational standpoint and another's is rather predictable; the third's is a really heavy-handed bit of irony. Fuqua spends too much time showing the characters thinking and not enough time showing them acting out. It's too bad because the performances are all better than the underbaked script would provide lesser talents to work with. It's for the performances that I recommend watching Brooklyn's Finest.

Score: 7/10. Catch it on cable.


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