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BROOKLYN’S FINEST (director: Antoine Fuqua; screenwriters: Martin C. Martin/Brad Kane; cinematographer: Patrick Murguia; editor: Barbara Tulliver; music: Marcelo Zarvo; cast: Richard Gere (Eddie Dugan), Don Cheadle(Tango), Ethan Hawks (Sal), Wesley Snipes (Caz), Will Patton (Lt. Bill Hobarts), Lili Taylor(Angela), Ellen Barkin (Agent Smith), Jesse Williams (Eddie Quinlan), Logan Marshall Green (Melvin Panton), Vincent D’Onofrio(Carlo), Michael Kenneth Williams (Red), Brian F. O’Byrne (Ronny Rosario), Shannon Kane (Chantel); Runtime: 133; MPAA Rating: R; producers: John Thompson/John Langley/Elie Cohn/Basil Iwanyk; Overture Films/Anchor Bay; 2009)
A messy derivative downbeat cop movie about the mean streets of Brooklyn.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A messy derivative downbeat cop movie about the mean streets of Brooklyn. It suffers from too many cliches and contrivances. Black director Antoine Fuqua(“Training Day”/”Southpaw”) keeps things gritty, working from an overwrought screenplay by Brad Kane and Martin C. Martin. It’s more like a cable TV action scripted movie than a solid feature film, despite its star-studded cast. The story follows three different types of conflicted NYC cops at their breaking point–Eddie Dugan (Richard Gere), the cynical, alcoholic and suicidal do-nothing veteran beat patrolman, a week away from retirement; Sal Procida (Ethan Hawke), the tough-guy corrupt Italian-American member of an anti-drug squad with money problems over a growing family and concern about caring for his asthmatic wife (Lili Taylor); and Tango (Don Cheadle), the anguished black undercover agent who served prison time to keep his cover and now wants a promotion to detective first grade to get back his ruined life and his moral compass. On his last days on the job, the reluctant Eddie gets assigned to drive around some young rookies and show them the ropes. He botches things when a simple dispute in a deli turns ugly when he inexplicably left the rookie (Jesse Williams) on his own. In the opening scene, the money-hungry Sal kills drug dealer Carlo (Vincent D’Onofrio) on a dark back road and takes his bag of drugs. Sal goes on drug raids with the main purpose of stealing the dirty money and killing any gangster witnesses. His psyche is screwed up over conflicted loyalty to the guys on his team or helping his family. Tango begs his handler Lt. Bill Hobarts (Will Patton) to get him a desk job. Bill promises to do so with one more job, to set-up the drug kingpin Caz (Wesley Snipes). Caz is the one who saved Tango’s life in a prison incident, and he feels he can’t betray him. The bitchy Federal Agent Smith (Ellen Barkin) insists he go through with the assignment or else. The three stories inter-mesh, as the trio working out of the high-crime 65th Precinct in Brooklyn don’t know each other but their paths briefly cross in the bloody finale when NYPD’s Operation Clean Up targets the drug-ridden BK housing project and all three of the officers find themselves caught in the middle of the night action.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”