I’ve come to the conclusion, that no matter how hard anyone tries to duplicate the grittiness or edginess of Training Day, it just simply won’t happen. Director Antoine Fuqua struck gold with Training Day and really hasn’t come close to anything that good since. Sure, he’s got some entertaining credits under his belt; Tears of the Sun, King Arthur, Shooter, but you won’t be calling them “great movies” after they’re over with. This is why I had such great hope before watching Fuqua’s latest offering, Brooklyn’s Finest, a film about three New York City policemen each different in their own right, but all wanting the same thing in the end.
Brooklyn’s Finest is about three NYPD cops; Eddie (Richard Gere), the veteran cop who has put in 22 years on the force and is seven days away from retirement. He doesn’t care anymore, he just wants to finish his last week on the job and get out. Tango (Don Cheadle), the cop who has been undercover for so long that he often distorts the job for real life and he wants out. Bad. His personal life has suffered because of his UC work but he’s been promised that if he delivers one more bad guy, Casanova (Wesley Snipes), he’ll be out for good. Then there’s Sal (Ethan Hawke), who’s family is the size of Rhode Island and growing. He’s got a three bedroom townhouse and twins on the way, plus his house has wood mold and it’s making his pregnant wife sick. He’s feeling the pinch to get his family out and to a better house…but at what cost?
The only part about the movie that felt absolutely genuine, and had they made the entire movie about his character, he could possibly be up for an Oscar next February. Eddie, Richard Gere’s character, has the most substance and is the most ably acted character out of the entire movie. His character is the only one I could sympathize with and could understand. Cheadle’s and Hawke’s characters were there but they didn’t go layers deep like Gere’s. Faulty writing is what I’m blaming there. The story is too broad to give every character depth, which is why these multiple storyline movies rarely work (21 Grams, Crash are the exceptions, not the rule). Richard Gere can act, there’s no doubt about that, which is why I was disappointed after seeing the movie that he wasted talent on the movie.
The other gripe I have about the movie is that it didn’t tie together what-so-ever at the end, if that’s a spoiler then I apologize. The main characters bump into each other and share about 30 seconds of screen time together the whole movie, but none of the characters directly interact with each other and I believe the movie suffers in its own right because of it. Had Fuqua at least tied the characters into each other towards the end and given the movie a satisfactory ending, I might have rated the movie higher.
At any rate, Brooklyn’s Finest is one of those movies that you get a good vibe from but by the time the film is over you’re scratching your head wondering what could have been. If you’re looking for a gritty cop-drama, it’s worth the watch for nothing else but shear entertainment, but if you’re looking for Training Day part duex, you’ll be sorely disappointed.