REVIEW: BROKEN CITY
SYNOPSIS: In a broken city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) seeks redemption – and revenge – after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure, the mayor (Russell Crowe). Billy’s relentless pursuit of justice, matched only by his streetwise toughness, makes him an unstoppable force – and the mayor’s worst nightmare.
REVIEW: The biggest surprise of this flick is how Director Allen Hughes (one half of the Hughes Brothers - Menace II Society,1993) portrays The Big Apple (New York City) in a very “Gotham-City-esque” sorta’ way with a more sophisticated form of villain and a more realistic type of imperfect hero that people can actually relate to. This is what makes Broken City stand out in the onslaught of recent action films. It basically takes the comic book hero idea/plot and plays it out in a real-world sorta’ way. Consequently, I think viewers will appreciate the not-so-typical style of film that Allen Hughes brings to a very typical genre.
I think it’s worth noting that the talented actors may not have been fully utilized to their greatest potential, but they all gave great performances. Having said this, the story didn’t quite come together the way I hoped with such a talented line up. One could imagine that with names such as Russell Crowe, Katherine Zeta-Jones and Mark Wahlberg amongst the ‘A-listers’, attached to the project, the story would be tweaked to perfection. Nevertheless, the characters in which they played were as interesting as it gets in Hollywood. Certainly worth mentioning are two performances in particular that were great to watch: The interaction between the characters played by Crowe and Zeta-Jones…Class-A performances! And secondly, the character played by Miami’s hometown native and relatively newcomer, Natalie Martinez (Death Race, 2008) and her steamy on-screen performance. She played Wahlberg’s girlfriend and nailed the part like a true Hollywood Diva and veteran. I guess one could say that the real reason she nailed the performance was because her character was not a far stretch (A young sexy starlet wannabe, trying to make it big in Hollywood), but at the risk of my being a bit biased, I would say her eye-candy appeal certainly didn’t hurt the film.
Though viewers are left wondering and searching for answers, in the end (an obvious setup for a possible part two), the script is very cleverly written with an unpredictable plot that will certainly surprise the viewer, scene after scene. However, this flick doesn’t bring anything new or extremely creative to the genre (we’ve all seen this type of Gotham City plotline over and over) and as a matter of fact, it could be simply viewed as just another critique of the way politics play-out in major metropolitan cities these days. Nevertheless, despite the heavy corruption overtone, the way the principle characters are linked to each other is what certainly makes the film a solid piece.
Amongst this flick’s strongest points are the seemingly endless supply of secrets, and how they’re eventually revealed. The strong acting is another obvious standout, to me and needless to say the action is as would be expected of Wahlberg and Crowe. Broken City is certainly worth the trip to the theaters and four stars of out five is the minimum it deserves. Broken City delivers on action, mystery and intrigue.
By Movi-Man Stan
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