Brooklyn's Finest - DVD Review

'Eddie Dugan (Richard Gere) emerges as the most interesting facet but by then it's too late: we've been subjected to the other less interesting stories which need to be finished'

If you ignore the success of Training Day then Antoine Fuqua's back catalog is not blessed with a litany of critical successes. Shooter was average, King Arthur even more so; Tears Of The Sun has recently been relegated to showing on repeat on late night TV. Brooklyn's Finest appears to be the act of a director who's career has recently started to take more wrong turns than right ones; a step back towards something that he knows and has had success with before.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with the above and, if anything, Fuqua's gravitation towards a project which features Richard Gere, Ethan Hawke, Wesley Snipes and Don Cheadle should be applauded as welcome rather than derided as resorting to type. Inevitably though, the comparisons with Training Day are easy to make and difficult to forget. Once again with Finest, we are in the company of cops who are human, rather than heroic stereotypes behind a badge, a character type which Fuqua is keen to dispel immediately with the dismissal of the type of square-jawed chap found in those 'other' films.

Whilst Fuqua's refusal to draw the line between good and bad is praiseworthy, this alone doesn't a good film make. Whether a character is good, bad or somewhere in-between matters little if you can see exactly where they're going. From very early on the script by Michael C. Martin telegraphs character development and leaves the director with little room for manoeuvre. As the plot machinations circle tried and tested routes, Eddie Dugan (Gere) emerges as the most interesting facet but by then it's too late: we've been subjected to the other less interesting stories which need to be finished. Fuqua fights to give Dugan a larger slice of the spoils than the others but it's too late, with the focus lost irreparably somewhere around the half-way point.

So, perhaps predictably, Fuqua doesn't do enough to elevate Brooklyn's Finest anywhere above the averageness of the majority of his canon, whilst the cast are similarly languid for the most part. Gere is good, as is Snipes, but Cheadle is predictably hammy and Hawke is more Assault On Precinct 13 than Training Day and therefore, not very good. BrĂ­an O'Byrne doesn't fit as a cop, Will Patton is welcome anywhere but gets nothing to do apart from sit in a diner whilst Ellen Barkin, who hasn't been in a whole lot lately, needlessly shouts her way through a weak and anonymous role.

A return to genre with mixed results for Fuqua, who really needs to pull something special out soon to live up to the hype that Training Day created.

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'You've never seen such ambition with such an unambitious foundation.' - Cinema Romantico


  1. i reallyliked this movie. i thought Training Day was better but thought this was really good. Don Chedle and Ehan Hawke were terrific in this.

  2. Glad you liked it! I didn't hate it by any means, I just didn't think it was a great film - it was exactly what I expected it to be whereas TRAINING DAY really blew all my expectations of what a cop thriller is out of the window.