Second time I have seen this, and I don’t know why I was so mean to this the first time. Hey, second time is always a charm!
Antoine Fuqua directs this tense drama about three wildly different New York cops whose paths collide in a Brooklyn housing project, where each must make a decision that will change the course of their lives forever. Cynical, washed-up Eddie (Richard Gere) no longer cares about the job or the rules; cash-strapped Sal (Ethan Hawke) sees a shortcut to solvency; and Tango (Don Cheadle) is torn between conflicting loyalties.
I like the “cop film” genre. It always has it’s ups, and downs but usually when it’s going up, it’s always a fun, and sometimes, depressing way to watch.
A notable piece of info about this film is that it is directed by Antoine Fuqua, who is most known for another cop piece, Training Day. With that film, he goes over the top, with non-stop energy, almost throughout the whole film, and doesn’t stop until those last couple of credits are off the screen. But with this one, he does a good job at actually setting a pace, that is slow at first, but then starts to build up as it goes along, creating a more suspenseful atmosphere.I like how he didn’t shy away from showing just how gritty this world can be, and he does it all so well, with plenty of drugs, sex, and most of all, violence, that will sure get some fans cheering.
I did enjoy the writing in this film, but the problem is that it hits too many cliches that we have all seen before. Even the stories itself are pretty cliched. You got the aging cop, the undercover cop, and the struggling cop. All are pretty interesting, but you can’t help but think you have seen all these dudes before. And the problem is that, although we do like these characters for the most part, we sometimes get so involved with one story, that we almost forget about the other two. That is alright since all stories come together at the end, but when your trying to keep all stories interesting until the end, it’s kind of not a good thing to make others interesting from another.
The cast is what really lifts this film up more than you think. Out of the whole cast, Don Cheadle does the best in my opinion. You can feel the emotion, and constant pain that he’s going through, almost every scene he’s in, and you really do root for this character, and although you have seen his story told before, he still catches your attention, and keeps you watching. Ethan Hawke does a good job as well, not trying to act like some hard-ass, that we all don’t know him for, but here, he does a good job, at playing a “good guy”, and in ways we battle ourselves as to if we like him or not, but he keeps us watching. Wesley Snipes shows up, and he’s basically playing the guy he always does, and it was a nice reminder, that he still, and probably always will have that charm, that makes him the great actor he is. Let’s just hope he starts to pay his taxes, or this will probably be his last performance we see from him. Richard Gere is not one of my favorite actors, quite frankly, I think he sucks. But here, I don’t know, he does alright to say the least, but his story doesn’t quite jell with the others, and sad to say it, but we’re probably mostly uninterested in his story out of the three.
Consensus: It’s hard-hitting, gritty, and not for every one, but with strong performances, and a tight direction, the cliches that this film obviously shows, are put aside for the time it’s on, and you can enjoy yourself.