Let's All Go To the Movies.. Or Not: Broken City
Now onto the movie, and you’re welcome or getting you there sooner than AMC did for me.
I know I’ve mentioned seeing the trailers in earlier articles and I couldn’t walk into this thing being any more skeptical, especially with the cheesy description on imdb. “In a city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure: Mayor Nicholas Hostetler.” Now you know I don’t like giving a plot summary full of spoilers, but it is so hard to do with this movie. On a somewhat positive note, this was a valiant first effort for writer Brian Tucker, but there is so much going on that you can’t get a good handle on all the little subplots, and often times these stories within the story come out of nowhere and/or disappear without and kind of conclusion. It basically reminded me of a mediocre network drama that tried squeezing a 12 episode story arc into an hour and 45 minute movie. You have blackmail, double blackmail, shady business deals, a possible affair that’s not really an affair after all, but another affair that’s only alluded to because it involves two guys, and the blunt admission of another affair at the end that’s never touched on once during the movie. Whew, then there’s the romance between Wahlberg and his girlfriend, the sexy Natalie Martinez who plays an indie actress, who may or not be having an affair with her co-star. You had Wahlberg falling off the wagon for a night and ruining this relationship that was evidently doomed from the start, but there was no indication of it at all. There were just so many questions that were left unanswered and a lot of obvious ones that were never even touched upon. The more I think about it, the more it racks my mind trying to figure out what the hell did I watch.
Director Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, From Hell, Book of Eli) tried his best with what he had for a script and in actuality a pretty decent cast, but there was only so much he could do. Throughout the movie, every time I saw Mark Wahlberg, al I could think about was him as Dirk Diggler as Brock Landers as Billy Taggert. Granted he wasn’t as bad as the trailers made him out to be, but it was definitely nothing special. Alongside Wahlberg, you had Russell Crowe who did a decent job as mayor Hostetler, and Catherine Zeta-Jones playing his wife with an awful New York accent. On paper the supporting cast of Jeffrey Wright (police commissioner), Barry Pepper (Crowe’s mayoral race opponent), and Kyle Chandler (Pepper’s aide) has a lot of talent, but were mired in a muddled story where they couldn’t be used to their fullest potential. I did think Pepper gave the best effort of anybody involved in this mess as he was playing the only character who got to show real emotion. At one point, Natalie Martinez has a pretty quick but graphic sex scene in her indie movie within the movie, but it was enough to make me want to watch THAT movie instead.
Overall, I think the movie was trying to be a smart, gritty, revenge/redemption thriller, but it got in its own way. They were trying to do so much and be so layered that none of the story lines had any real depth. Now I have to say, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be going in, but unfortunately it was close. If you were planning on seeing it, it may be best to wait for Redbox or Netflix.
Stoney’s grade: C-
What have you seen lately? What do you want to see? Look for my next installment which will review either Movie 43 or The Impossible. Feel free to comment below with thoughts and requests or do so via twitter @StoneyinCO