This bloated, pretentious mess is the slowest action movie I can remember, weighted down with over-used characters, situations, and dialog. The dialog is over-used within the movie itself. It isn’t enough for a character to say, “I want my life back!” He has to repeat for emphasis, “I want my life back!” only to evoke the response, “You want your life back!” “Brooklyn’s Finest” is movie-dom’s mediocre.
Make a list of every police movie cliche and you will find them all here. The disillusioned uniformed officer a week from retirement. The dedicated cop who has been undercover for so long his loyalties are getting blurred. The detective whose money pressures overwhelm his integrity. The cop who falls for a hooker. The rookie who find that real life is more complicated — and dangerous — than the academy. The kid who gets shot and turns out to be an honor student. The charismatic drug dealer. The higher-ups who engage in cover-ups. The ambitious and ruthless politician. The even-more ambitious and ruthless crime boss. And not one single moment with any freshness or sincerity or interest.
Director Antoine Fuqua returns to the genre of his greatest success, “Training Day,” after a series of disappointing follow-ups like “King Arthur” and “Shooter.” But without Denzel Washington’s galvanizing performance in a larger-than-life role, the material feels at the same time thin and heavy-handed. It isn’t enough that the cop’s wife is pregnant. She has to be pregnant with twins and getting sick from the mold in their old, over-crowded house. Another cop has to literally wash literal blood off his hands. The cops and the bad guys both communicate primarily by grunts, insults, profanity, and meaningful stares. “There’s no such thing as right or wrong,” says a character at the beginning of the film, “Only righter and wronger.” Well, if there’s such a thing as gooder and badder, this movie falls into the second category.