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Gavin Grades The Movies

Brooklyn's Finest

The last time director Antoine Fuqua hit the streets and filmed in the actual ghetto, filled with real criminals and dangerous surroundings was 2001's Training Day.  This movie, which had Ethan Hawke and Denzel Washington, was about a new cop starting out and paired up with a veteran that shows him what being out on the streets for too many years can do to you.  It's one of my Top 30 favorite movies and won Denzel an Oscar.  The movie was filmed in the worst parts of L.A. and when I heard that Brooklyn's Finest was about cops and filmed in Brownsville, Brooklyn, one of the most dangerous places on the planet; I got excited for another potential opus.  I got even more excited at its potential when I saw Ethan Hawke returned for this AND Richard Gere, Don Cheadle (Oceans 11 -13), Will Patton (Remember the Titans) and even Wesley Snipes joined him.  Sadly, I was very disappointed when I left the theater though.  Brooklyn's Finest has three main stories about three different cops, who are on the brink of self destruction, working in the worst part of Brooklyn.  These three stories are dark and I mean damn, dark.  I don't think the casual Richard Gere fan should see this movie especially if you really loved him in Pretty Woman or Chicago.  All I have to say is that I had nightmares from watching him in a graphic sex scene.  These stories are each told with passion and total commitment from the players involved.  It's too bad that all three stories are ones you've seen a million times in any cop drama.  But when you have these three stories being juggled in the air and Fuqua doing the juggling, it's not a total loss.  The uncertainty of the finale was enough to keep me interested.  Some scenes might've almost been too suspenseful and intense for me if it hadn't been for the row and a half of people behind me that stopped gorging on snack foods like pigs just briefly enough to yell at the screen.  I think the movie started to go south once I realized that these three stories had nothing to do with each other and operated independently from one another.  I was hoping that they were all going to collide and all these gifted actors were allowed to share a scene in a big climactic finale; but that doesn't come.  The only time we have the stories intersect is in a few gimmicky exchanges of dialogue or background action.  It frustrates me to have three separate stories like this that have nothing to do with each other in one movie, when I could be watching a film that focuses on one of them and does it well.  What's the point of giving me the Cliff's Notes version of three stories if they don't have anything to do with each other?  Fuqua tries so hard to recreate the magic he had on Training Day and failed.  But I give him credit for two things.  One is shooting in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  I've been lost there once and it was absolutely terrifying.  To shoot a movie in Brownsville would involve gaining the trust of the people who live there and I'm sure that's not easy.  The other is giving Wesley Snipes a chance to star in a movie that's not straight-to-DVD again.  I have to admit that I'm a huge fan of the Blade series, but seeing Snipes in this again reminds me that even when he's not a vampire or kicking someone in the head, he's still a pretty good actor.  He plays the same role as he did in New Jack City, but it's a damn good one.  It's just too bad Snipes had to have his comeback be on this though. Brooklyn's Finest (Rated R) Gavin Grade: C- Click here for a chance to win tickets to an advanced screening of Green Zone starring Matt Damon

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03/04/2010 4:21AM
Brooklyn's Finest
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