The cops are getting harder and harder
Brooklyn’s Finest (R)
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes
Genre: Corrupt Cop Flick
Sometimes, people anticipate me. So did Antoine Fuqua. Training Day was not all that great. But, it was the effect of watching Denzel Washington’s Jake Hoyt that gave me a view to admire Fuqua’s painting of the gangsta-cop. But, Jake Hoyt isn’t Fuqua’s only reputational character. He has painted John Lee (Chow Yun-fat in The Replacement Killers), Lt. Waters (Bruce Willis in Tears of the Sun) and the ultramodern King Arthur (Clive Owen in the titular role). But, Jake Hoyt was reason enough to watch Eddie, Sal and Tango, the cops in Brooklyn’s Finest. These three men run around the drugged section of Brooklyn and the film ventures more in the dark than in the day. The movie is dense with sequences showing the three men in three different corners, doing three different life-altering tasks. For example, Eddie (Richard Gere) is following a slam van into its premises while Sal (Ethan Hawke) is on his way to rob a drug informant, and these two characters cross the path of Tango (Don Cheadle), who’s on his way to avenge the death of his underworld buddy, Caz (Wesley Snipes).
It’s the fact that good cops are often tested the hard way. Gere, Hawke and Cheadle experience some gruesome moments of clarity and it is only at this time, that they realize which side they’re on. But, Antoine Fuqua has clogged their minds well enough to act out of stupidity. Some who dedicate their interests to these characters would rephrase stupidity as desperateness. But, it is often the fact that Fuqua’s characters have no interest in their lives, that they behave such sundry. It has also become a common cinematic method to let the African American characters mouth a handful of abuses in every line of dialogue. The interactions between Tango and Caz are an apt example. But, when you look at these convincing characters, you find them overused in Hollywood cop flicks.
Sal, for example, is the cop who does drug raids and then pockets the drug money to support his expanding family. Another Hollywood cop flick rule is to let one of your characters sniff around regularly. Watching Sal sniff his nose in almost every scene, the arbitrations turned dismal and I began to lose interest in the film. More dismal were the scenes featuring the African Americans. Why did they always have to meet in a night club during broad daylight?
Then, we have Eddie, who’s on the brink of retirement. “In seven days, I complete twenty-two years.” He proclaims while his superior comments “You’re a less exemplary cop.” It’s this frustration that leads Eddie to insert a bullet into his empty revolver. Something, he has never done in the last few years. Even when the less charming hooker asks “Why do you carry an empty revolver?” He simply shrugs. But, this hooker (unlike the other Hollywood hookers) doesn’t nod to Eddie’s request and pack her bags to Connecticut. She decides to stay in that room and serve her customers – the cops. “This is what I am.” She concludes as Eddie walks out of her life and pushes a loaded revolver into his mouth.
Brooklyn’s Finest runs on the fact that every cop will get what he deserves for his nonchalant career. Eddie, Sal and Tango meet with different situations as I mentioned earlier and it’s their remorseful character traits that lead them to the “do or die” situation. When Eddie is left to train young recruits, he notices that they all want to either serve the public or shoot members of the opposite race.
Brooklyn’s Finest is no Training Day. It’s the intertwining of the diaries of three cops, presented through darkened lenses and executed the way a debutant would.