Brooklyn's Finest

Simultaneously full of itself and full of shit, Brooklyn's Finest is a cop movie so shallow, dumb, derivative and infuriating that it feels like a parody of bad cop movies. From the glaringly obnoxious opening scene of a parked car with its turn signal blinking, blinking, blinking, to the spray of clichés that blast the audience without mercy, this movie is the cinematic equivalent of waterboarding. We're meant to weep at the tragedy of three cops out of Brooklyn's hardscrabble 65th Precinct. Should Sal (Ethan Hawke) go on the take to support his wife and kids? Will Eddie (Richard Gere) make it to retirement? Can undercover cop Tango (Don Cheadle) come in from the cold before getting infected by hanging with scum? (Wesley Snipes, returning to movies for what? This!) Blood is splattered, but the movie feels untouched by human hands, or by a director. This is startling since that job fell to the talented Antoine Fuqua of Training Day. The script by newbie Michael C. Martin seems unplayable, and I can't say the actors do anything to disprove my supposition. I hereby sentence Brooklyn's Finest to die unmourned on the DVD scrapheap.

From The Archives Issue 140: August 2, 1973