Antoine Fuqua has finally returned to the genre that once made him a semi-big deal: the cop drama. With Training Day, Fuqua had a modestly well-received crime drama. But simply calling Brooklyn’s Finest something along the lines of Training Day Redux is a bit too easy. While both films deal with the seedier sides of police life, Brooklyn’s Finest is an attempt at something a bit more ambitious. The problem is that this ambition is superficial. The plot follows three Brooklyn cops at different points in their careers. Eddie (Richard Gere) is a beat cop coasting towards his retirement as a result of being mentally exhausted from the stress of more than two decades of service. He spends the bulk of the movie sulking, getting drunk, contemplating suicide, and visiting his favorite call girl (Shannon Kane). At the same time, we meet Sal (Ethan Hawke), an emotionally fragile narcotics cop who’s trying to scrape up enough money to buy a new house for his ever-growing family. Unfortunately, Sal appears capable of going as far as murder to provide for his wife and kids. Lastly, we get Tango (Don Cheadle), an undercover cop who wants nothing more than to be free of his fake identity so that he may reclaim his life. As a launching pad, there are worse concepts out there, but we get nothing more than machismo soap mixed with bushels of clichés. As far as the leads go, the film feels miscast. Gere doesn’t have the gravitas or charisma to play the world-weary cop we see. Cheadle has too much gravitas to be believable as a tough-as-nails gangster (even if his character is an undercover cop). And Hawke plays his role in the same mopey manner he does everything.
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Writer: Michael C. Martin
Producer: Elie Cohn, Basil Iwaynk, John Langley, Avi Lerner and John
Cast: Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes, Jesse Williams, Lili Taylor, Ellen Barkin, Robert John Burke, Sarah Thompson and Wass Stevens