Brooklyn’s Finest

Viewed – 04 December 2011  Blu-ray

Ensemble character pieces like this can be very rewarding; multiple plot threads that effect one another, leading to a powerful conclusion.  Movies like Pulp Fiction and the multi-oscar winning Crash are fine examples of this, and so the question here is – can this entry offer up the same?

Richard Gere is a patrol cop nearing retirement, whose career has all been about avoiding danger, leaving him more of an empty shell than that of a Cop with something to be proud of.  Don Cheadle is an undercover cop questioning his loyalties to his gangster friend and his duties as a Police Officer, whilst Ethan Hawke is a desperate detective with money problems, who finds himself turning to increasingly dangerous methods in order to move house and help his asthmatic, pregnant wife.

As the movie progressed, I found myself initially absorbed by both Don Cheadle’s situation and that of Gere, but Ethan Hawk’s actions just puzzled me, considering his situation wasn’t exactly life and death.  It blighted what is otherwise a well acted and mildly-gripping thriller, with a particularly strong turn from Cheadle, who I have always enjoyed.  Even the washed up has-been Gere was good, if a touch difficult to sympathise with.

Director Antoine Fuqua’s well-shot and stylish movie seems to have aspirations to be the next Oscar-magnet, but with characters that are mostly unlikable,  a smattering of clichés and a message than clearly isn’t saying much more than ‘its a dangerous job being a cop’, this really doesn’t offer up anything we haven’t seen done a lot better elsewhere.

Verdict:  2.5 /5

Blade Trinity

Viewed – 22 November 2008  DVD

With the Blade franchise, I think Wesley Snipes graduated from being a likable, watchable actor to a bona-fide movie star – it was the role he was born to play. Blade is a half-human, half-vampire vampire-hunter and a 100% bad ass at the same time – forget Buffy Summers – this is how you kill the undead.  Based on a not that well known Marvel comic book, the first two films in the franchise were huge hits, so a third (and final?) instalment was an easy bet.

Now you may ask, why if being a Blade fan-boy have I not watched Trinity before now?  Well to be honest, I felt the series had reached its can’t-be-bettered peak with Guillermo Del Toro’s superb Blade 2.  Add to this rather limp reception for this latest vampire slaying flick, and the rumour that Snipes was pushed into the background and more screen time given to his two other leads (Ryan Reynolds and, ahem, purr…Jessica Biel) and the thought of a lesser Blade movie was not an enticing prospect.

But fear not!  This latest entry is every bit as cool and exciting as the previous two (although somewhat less bloody) and with a trio of vampire hunters, a funny, wise cracking Ryan Reynolds and ahem, purr…Jessica Biel, and yes even if Snipes doesn’t seem as ‘into it’ as he once was – this still couldn’t fail.  Ok, the arrival of bad-boy of all vampires Dracula (call him Drake) proves underwhelming and unimaginative (but we still get a great sword fight between him & Blade), overall – if u liked the last two films or just enjoy a well made, fast-moving choreographed-to-within-an-inch-of-its-life action / horror then this will do the job nicely.

Verdict:  3 /5

The King Of New York

Viewed – 30 September 2008  DVD

I thought this kicked all kinds of ass when I watched it once on late night television.  Who can argue with the set up of a respected, feared gang boss (Christopher Walken on electrifying form) who is released from prison and goes about taking over New York City by any means necessary.  Dirty, seedy, sexy and very violent – result!

Yet having sat down and watched it again now – it hasn’t aged well.  Walken of course is superb, but the story and the situations all feel so over-dramatic with little tension or believable atmosphere – it kinda feels like a very bloody comic book – of which I don’t have a problem with…but you can tell this film is taking itself very seriously, and frankly…at times it began to look a bit juvenile.  Scarface would have crapped all over these guys.

The cops (headed by David Caruso and Wesley Snipes) are very unlikable (especially hot shot dick-head Caruso) and the dead-faced Walken is unstoppable…leading to a very weak ending.  Yet saying hat, its still all tits, guns, coke and attitude to spare – and Walken is always worthy of your time.

Verdict:  3 /5