This wannabe political thriller falls far short of its mark as it unravels the dense web of criminal conspiracies enveloping longtime incumbent New York City Mayor Nicholas Hosteler (Russell Crowe), who is vying for re-election with a younger, richer city councilman, Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper).
Broken City (20th Century Fox)
After he was forced to take a fall seven years ago for gunning down an exonerated rapist/gang member, allegedly in self-defense, former NYPD detective Billy Taggert (Mark Wahlberg) opened his own private investigation agency in Brooklyn. Working with an office assistant, Katy Bradshaw (Alona Tal), he's often strapped for money. That's why he accepts with alacrity a $50,000 cash offer from Mayor Hosteler to spy on the his classy wife, Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom the blustering Mayor suspects of adultery.
The plot thickens when Billy concludes that Cathleen is involved with Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler), campaign manager for Hosteler's opponent Jack Valliant. But this case turns out to be far more convoluted since there's a clandestine subplot revolving around a multibillion-dollar deal to level Bolton Village, a public housing project - and Billy is being used as a pawn. Adding to the complications are Police Commissioner Carl Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright) and Taggert's aspiring-actress girl-friend, Natalie Barrow (Natalie Martinez), who just happens to be the older sister of the rape victim whom Billy bumped off and her family, conveniently, lives in the Bolton Village project.
Problem is: instead of characters, these are caricatures. With his wobbly accent, Russell Crowe's municipal corruption is evident immediately and Mark Wahlberg's earnestly blue-collar performance never rises above stereotype - nor does Catherine Zeta-Jones' elegance.
Written by first-time screenwriter Brian Tucker, this is the first feature film that Allen Hughes has directed without his twin brother Albert. Sons of an African-American father and Armenian-American mother, the Hughes Brothers collaborated on "Menace II Society," "Dead Presidents," "From Hell," "American Pimp" and "The Book of Eli." But Albert has been living in the Czech Republic since 2004.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Broken City" is a feeble 5, a mundane melodrama.
To paraphrase Sophie Tucker, I've been young and I've been old. Young is better. But you don't have to believe me. If you watch the antics of four sexagenarians; Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Sam (Kevin Kline), and Archie (Morgan Freeman) who (tee hee) throw Billy a bachelor pa ...
Though this film focuses on four African-Americans--Joe Brewster and Michèle Brewster and their child Idris, and Anthony Summers and Stacey O. Summers and their boy Seun (pronounced Shay-Awn), I can relate closely to their joys and fears. Like Idris and Seun, I am a long-term Brooklynite spend ...
Sometimes there is a huge payoff when I do something that propels me out of my comfort zone. You might interpret this act as taking a huge risk, like jumping out of a plane, walking a high wire or telling your boss that he, or she, is wrong. In my case, it was playing a game.
Take a look at your Lands' End shirt. Where was it made? China? I thought so. How about your computer: by a company in Silicon Valley? Nope. China again. And your Rockport Pro-Walker shoes: China? Oops, Vietnam. We in America are shedding jobs of our own citizens because it's so much cheape ...
View Local News Sources From 33,000+ Neighborhoods Nationwide!