A collection plate should be passed among the audiences for Broken City if only because A-list stars like Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones obviously did this film for the money.
New York City police officer Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) fades from the force and becomes a private eye after a highly controversial court case (think Trayvon martin). Mayor Hostetler (Crowe) brings the P.I. in from the cold with an assignment to snoop on his wife (Zeta-Jones). As he uncovers conspiracy after double cross, Taggart cant figure out who to trust and decides to go Serpico all over NYC.
There are genre films and then there films that try to be genre films. Unfortunately this film falls into the latter. Screenwriter Brian Tucker borrows liberally from the Martin Scorsese and Sidney Lumet playbook yet settles on half-baked pastiches rather than building on strong prototypes. There is a lot to work on within the parameters of political/social corruption. Even if the Trayvon Martin angle was coincidental (it wasnt), Tucker eschews that concept for an anti-hero story that went absolutely nowhere and has an eerie subtext of homophobia.
Directed by Allen Hughes, it safe to say that the realism and kinetic grit that defines the Hughes Brothers brand is definitely missing without his longtime collaborator and brother, Albert Hughes. There was a reason this film was in development hell for years.
Id say that Wahlberg is laughable as a cop but this isnt The Other Guys. The actor is obviously capable of great work and his only fault is that he took on the project (hes also the producer). Same could be said for Crowe. It wouldve been more appealing to see the actor channel the same energy he did in Body of Lies rather than come off what could only be described as smug and snivelling. Congratulations to Jeffrey Wright for officially being pigeonholed as a hard-boiled guy in a suit.
Last but not least is Zeta-Jones. Joan Collins called; she wants her dramatic pause back.
Id say wait for it on Blu-ray or On-Demand but that would imply that Id want you to see Broken City at all.