Wednesday, January 16, 2013
REVIEW: Broken City
Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe
January 18, 2013
20th Century Fox
1 hour 49 minutes
January of 2013 actually seemed to be more promising than many prior years with stinkers being released. One of the movies coming out this month is a political thriller called 'Broken City.' The trailer for the film showed that it had promise, but not enough promise to solidify my hype and my anticipation. Unfortunately though, the movie didn't live up to the potential that it had. The reason why 'Broken City' suffers is because of less than great acting from everyone other than a couple of the supporting actors, a script that was trying to copy cat a Tarantino script, and some poor direction from director Allen Hughes. It makes sense that 'Broken City' is coming out during what some people call "trash month," because that's essentially what this film is aside from a couple of good things spread out throughout the film.
After a shooting that leaves one man with a bullet in his head, police officer Billy Taggert is forced to resign as an officer and make a different living. Seven years past, and Taggert works in his own company as a private investigator. He's hired by people to take pictures of possible scandals going on, and they pay him good amounts of money. Billy soon gets a call from the mayor of New York, Nick Hostetler, to come in and do a job for him. Hostetler believes that his wife is cheating on him with another man, so he hires Billy to take pictures to see who the man is. Billy soon learns after taking the pictures that the scandal isn't about an affair, but rather something much bigger than he expected.
It's a pretty well known fact that Mark Wahlberg is a talented actor. After all, he's been nominated for two Academy Awards before. Russell Crowe and Catherine Zeta-Jones are great actors, and both have actually won Oscars before. Unfortunately the three leads in the film are rather disappointing and somewhat mediocre here. Wahlberg doesn't show a lot of emotion in the film, and it felt as if he was just reading lines from the script as he was talking for most of the film. Catherine Zeta-Jones is barely given anything to do in this movie, only showing up for about 5 scenes and just acting bland. She won an Academy Award for crying out loud, so why is she in a role where any other actress could have been in her shoes and deliver the same exact performance? Who knows, but she was also in the critically panned 'Playing For Keeps,' so it looks like it might be time for her to find a new agent.
Russell Crowe is the best of the three leads, but that isn't saying a lot. His villainous performance was decent, but his New York accent was a little off and honestly, the character just annoyed me for a lot of the movie. Nothing against Crowe as an actor, since he is a great actor, but it was just the way his character was written that made me get aggravated with his performance. The best parts of the cast were the smaller supporting roles, including Barry Pepper and Kyle Chandler as the man who's running against Crowe's character to become the mayor of New York City and his campaign manager respectively. Those were the only actors in the film that actually gave some effort into their performances and tried their hardest to actually act. Too bad the three main leads couldn't give as good of performances as their supporting players
It's pretty noticeable sometimes when a screenwriter is trying to copy the style of another acclaimed screenwriter. The first-time screenwriter of 'Broken City,' named Brian Tucker, takes the serious story of crime and politics and adds snappy lines that I believe was trying to copy off of Quentin Tarantino's style of writing. As someone who had just seen his first Tarantino film, this aggravated me throughout the duration of the movie. None of the dialogue had style or humor and was rather trying to mock the snappy and witty dialogue that Tarantino, or even Joss Whedon, have in their screenplays. To top that all off, the story itself was bland as wet bread and had a pretty predictable ending with one twist that had potential but didn't really go anywhere. Plus there was an awful and unnecessary subplot involving the girlfriend of Mark Wahlberg's character that could have easily been chopped from the film and replaced with things that actually mattered and could have been really interesting.
Aside from a couple of good performances from the supporting actors, and some interesting plot elements, 'Broken City' is just the standard January trash that people will like because Mark Wahlberg is in it. The acting is sub-par, aside from pretty good performances from Kyle Chandler and Barry Pepper. The script is predictable, nothing new, and is trying to mock off the writing styles of Quentin Tarantino. To top that all off, the direction from Allen Hughes does nothing ground-breaking and focuses more on getting 360° of the actors rather than trying to tell a story that could have been somewhat enjoyable.
It should be expected that a movie like this released in January wouldn't be that good, but the fact that I had to wait in line for an hour and a half with three other guests and only get in with a friend from the press at the last minute without my guests was aggravating. I want to thank my guests that night for letting me get into the screening without you guys, and I'm glad you guys got a good dinner out of it. Honestly though, I wish there wasn't as much trouble with this movie because it wasn't even worth it. Thank you 'Broken City' for making me waste my Tuesday night on a boring, dull, and predictable political thriller that couldn't even be saved by a talented cast. 'Broken City' is indeed a broken mess that had the potential to be somewhat enjoyable.
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