Brooklyn’s Finest Review
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Cop movies come in all shapes and sizes. There are cop comedies, with bumbling cops who somehow manage to save the day. There are action movies, with gruff loner cops who shoot up neighborhoods and blow up buildings while tracking down the bad guys. And then there are the cop dramas—those gritty tales of hardship, loss, and moral dilemma, which rarely come with a happy ending. If you’ve ever seen one of the latter, it’s safe to say that you’ve already seen at least one of the three loosely-connected cop stories in director Antoine Fuqua’s latest, Brooklyn’s Finest.

Eddie (Richard Gere) is a veteran cop who’s just seven days away from retirement. He’s spent the last 22 years doing his job while trying not to get too involved—and he really just doesn’t care about anything anymore. When he’s sent to train an idealistic young rookie, though, it changes his perspective.

Sal (Ethan Hawke) is a good Catholic family man—or at least he used to be. But now, with twins on the way and a tiny house that’s a hazard for his ever-growing family, he needs a new place—a place that he can’t afford on a cop’s salary. So he starts to consider other ways of getting the money.

Clarence, A.K.A. Tango (Don Cheadle), has been undercover for so long that he’s having a hard time separating his life from his job. He just wants his life back—but the only way out is to set up Caz (Wesley Snipes), the man who saved his life in prison.

If you take three separate cop dramas and condense them down into three shorter, somewhat connected parts of one movie, you should (in theory) end up with three tense plotlines that twist and turn through a fast-paced and suspenseful film. But that’s not the case with Brooklyn’s Finest. Instead, you get three formulaic storylines with clichéd characters and painfully predictable outcomes.

For the first hour or so, the rambling plotlines seem to be building in suspense. But after a few thrilling moments about halfway through the movie, the tension dwindles and the pace drags. The storytelling is choppy and confusing—and after spending a couple of hours trying to figure out which bad guys go with which cop, you’ll eventually just give up.

Of course, it doesn’t help that only one of the three stories is even remotely interesting. Though you’ve probably seen the story of the conflicted undercover cop who just wants out before, Cheadle makes you care about his character—and Snipes keeps the story entertaining. The other two stories, however, are more of the same old cop drama with the same old hard-knocks message. Except for the moments that are so overdone and ridiculous that they’re just plain laughable, there’s little here to hold your interest.

Though it could have been a solidly suspenseful drama, Brooklyn’s Finest gets caught in a tangled web of cop movie clichés. If this is the best that Brooklyn has to offer, I highly recommend sticking to the other four boroughs on your next visit to the Big Apple.

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