Brooklyn’s Finest DVD Review

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It isn’t likely to go over too well with New York City Mayor Bloomberg and his tourism bureau. This tabloid cinema crooked cop thriller and ghetto housing project horror spree, looking worse than an Afghan war zone on a bad day, is Brookyln’s Finest.

A kind of followup to the biased class trumping race lurid lowlife abyss in which Precious self-loathingly wallowed, this reverse Stockholm Syndrome crime caper intimates police corruption as basic byproduct of the bad company they keep during working hours. In other words, blame it on the inner city.

Directed with a heavy hand, as in sledgehammer, by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) and penned by transit worker turned screenwriter Michael C. Martin, Brooklyn’s Finest follows three cops from the crime ridden 65th Precinct on their daily rounds, during one fateful, explosive week about to go down at a local public housing project. Narcotics detective and tattooed bad dad Sal Procida (Ethan Hawke) has just hit the confession booth after one in a series of secret executions of neighborhood drug dealers. Less into booking perps than blowing their faces off and stealing their cash, Procida tends to rationalize his behavior because he can’t afford to support his seven children and a wife pregnant yet again with twins, on a cop’s salary. Not clear if he stops off at the church to blame God for not helping him make ends meet, or protest the lack of divine contraceptive intervention.

And on another side of town, jaded veteran bachelor cop Eddie Dugan (Richard Gere), about to retire in a week, can’t decide whether to blow his brains out or blow some cash on a visit to a sex den and his favorite pretend girlfriend hooker. At the same time, Dugan switches it up to itinerant knight in shining armor, on the hunt for a missing young girl possibly being held in bondage as a genuine sex slave.

Then there’s Clarence ‘Tango’ Butler (Don Cheadle), an undercover cop who’s been role playing with the street gangs in and out of prison for so long, that he’s succumbing to a major identity crisis. Deeply into guy bonding with major player druglord Caz (Wesley Snipes), Butler is too conflicted to entrap Caz for good even though offered a big promotion in return, when not pressured to man up and do so by his nagging dragon lady supervisor, played as a snarling venomous viper by Ellen Barkin.

Fuqua presents a Brooklyn’s Foulest portrait of ghetto life where there’s plenty of sympathy to go around for bad behavior by the police, but not a single mitigating factor motivating the despised inner city underclass. So what we’re left with basically, is Brooklyn as a generic macho cesspool, and where the women tend to range from brainless bimbos and breeders to brainiac bitchy bosses with advanced degrees.

Brooklyn’s Finest: The borough as a hotbed of sluts, shooters, slaughter and sleaze, not necessarily in that order.

Overture Films

Rated R

1 star

DVD Features: Audio Commentary With Director Antoine Fuqua; Featurettes: Chaos & Conflict: The Life Of A New York Cop; Boyz N The Real Hood; An Eye For Detail: Director Featurette: From The MTA To The WGA: Writer Featurette; Deleted Scenes.