Posted: 06/26/2010


Brooklyn’s Finest

by Elaine Hegwood Bowen

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I was a bit disappointed in Brooklyn’s Finest, in that it seemed to be just a remake of Training Day, with Ethan Hawke (Sal) who was Oscar and Tony award-winning actor Denzel Washington’s green partner in that tough cop gets the drug kingpins movie. Not surprising, since director Antoine Fuqua is behind both. Now to say I am disappointed doesn’t mean it was a bad movie. It’s just that I thought I had seen it all before.

Standouts in Brooklyn’s Finest were Don Cheadle (Tango) and Richard Gere (Eddie). Wesley Snipes (Caz) was hyped to the gills in promos for Brooklyn’s Finest, but I really don’t think he had much face time as a recently released drug lord who is best pals with Cheadle, even though he doesn’t realize Cheadle is under cover.

Cheadle has gone so far undercover in a story of cops sticking their hands in the cash stashes that they take while executing drug busts that the audience really thinks he’s a bad guy. Hawke is a family man with a sick wife and adoring kids who needs fast money to buy a house to satisfy a dream that is fading quickly.

Again, Snipe’s role isn’t too far off from a similar one that he played in New Jack City, even though now that movie seems ancient. What’s good about the DVD release of Brooklyn’s Finest on Tuesday, July 6, is that it is available in Blu-ray also, which makes the money appear that much greener and the gun shot wounds that much more vibrant!

With the DVD and Blu-ray release, fans can experience the volatile and deadly world of one of New York’s most dangerous precincts through the eyes of the men and women pledged to protect and serve. It’s easy to be swept away by the violence and corruption of Brooklyn’s gritty 65th Precinct and its most treacherous criminals.

But Gere, who is retiring in seven days, is insulted and reluctant to help train a new cop, since he knows he’s on his way out the door and he really doesn’t want to see much action. He’s been jaded toward the vilest acts, such as rape and domestic violence, and he turns away from illegal activity most of the time. What keeps his attention is the hooker whom he visits regularly and takes drugs with, all in the hopes that she’ll clean up and run away with him to a simpler, slower life. NOT!!

All hell breaks loose when Cheadle tries to come out from underground, but he’s ordered to remain for one last big bust. He has allegiance to his childhood friend Snipes, but is also super careful to not blow his cover. What happens afterward is just tragic all the way, and once again is a testament to the old phrase, “crime doesn’t pay.”

Brooklyn’s Finest is available on DVD and Blu-ray July 6, with additions such as special audio commentary with Fuqua, the life of a real New York cop, deleted scenes and character profiles on the Blu-ray edition. Visit Web site

Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.

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