Most movies released in January are a trash dump of either a project that wasn’t good enough for awards season, or just flat out not good at all.
I knew Broken City had a cast and a story that if not awards worthy, should be better than most of the garbage released in the first month of a year. I was right. It turned out to be one of the best January movies I have seen in a long time. I’m not sure if that’s a backhanded compliment or not?
Before I continue my review, lets see which trailers will break our backs!
TRAILERS ATTACHED TO BROKEN CITY:
The Heat – Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in the same movie. Forget walking out of the movie… I walked out of the trailer. : Sell My Stock!
The Call – Can the Academy take back Halle Berry’s Oscar? This trailer is like Silence Of The Lambs, but in a car. Better yet, you’d rather be in the car driving away from the theater that plays this movie. : Sell My Stock!
A Good Day To Die Hard – I prefer my McClane with a receding hairline (not bald) and to work alone (no son). But how can I not see a Die Hard movie (even when the first 2 are still the best)? : I Will Be There Opening Night!
NOW ON WITH THE MAIN EVENT…
Broken City has the look and feel of a pulp detective novel-turned film. It’s at it’s best when it remembers that. When it tries to outsmart itself with a complicated plot and some twists and turns, that’s when it gets into minor trouble. Luckily that doesn’t happen too often here.
Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) is a disgraced former NYC cop. He narrowly escaped jail time when he shot an alleged rapist/murder. Discharged from the force, he ends up becoming a P.I. The NYC Mayor (Russell Crowe), who is in a neck and neck election, hires Taggart to find out who is sleeping with his rebellious wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). As Billy follows her around, he uncovers a much larger conspiracy and sees the Mayor for who he really is.
Wahlberg has settled into this tough-guy leading man role. He is believable as a street wise investigator, who never backs away from a fight. Crowe, aside from his distracting wig and nacho cheese Doritos tan, makes for a convincing New Yorker. His mayor is a strong nemesis for Wahlberg’s character to butt heads with, especially after the first of many twists.
One thing I did take away from this movie was the idea that Crowe and Zeta-Jones would be perfect in a remake of Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?
Director Allen Hughes isn’t out to make an action movie. He appears perfectly comfortable making his film about corruption and redemption. The movie has a pulse that rarely flatlines. Even when it starts getting a little more trashy than artistic, it’s always entertaining on one level or another.
I give BROKEN CITY ***1/2 out of ****.