Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
|Featuring:||Kevin Spacey, Justin Timberlake, Morgan Freeman, LL Cool J, Cary Elwes, Piper Perabo, Dylan McDermott, John Heard|
|Director:||David J. Burke|
|Producer:||Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Christopher Eberts, Randall Emmett, George Furla, Lati Grobman, Andreas Grosch, Kia Jam, Monella Kaplan, Avi Lerner, Andreas Schmid, Jonathan Shore, Trevor Short, John Thompson, Shawn Williamson|
“In this city, only the cops are above the law.”
Written and directed by David J. Burke, “Edison Force” is an intense and violent thriller about an all encompassing network of corruption within a city’s justice system that nobody has ever dared to challenge until a wannabe photo journalist over hears a puzzling show of gratitude between an accused murderer and his arresting officer Raif Deed (LL Cool J).
In the fictional, but very real feeling, American city of Edison patrols the S.W.A.T. type police force: F.R.A.T. On the exterior an elite peace keeping team, but on the underbelly a dark and sinister band of killers. All sworn to keep order in Edison after 15 years of lawlessness and violence. Being led by the homicidal cop Francis Lazerov (Dylan McDermott) these so-called peace keepers are only out for what the payoff might be and helping powerful district attorney Tilman (John Heard) pose as the political savior of the city.
Upon his discovery of a den of corrupt policemen, rookie journalist Josh Pollack (Justin Timberlake) relies on his mentor and editor boss, Pulitzer winning reporter Moses Ashford (Morgan Freeman), and a no nonsense investigator Lee Wallace (Kevin Spacey) to expose the truth behind the cops that rule the streets of this fictional mega American city.
As we watch a very bloody and violent shootout at Edison’s Plaza Bank, officer Deed laments in the opening scene that life is not what you think it is because of the corrupt cops of F.R.A.T. He says, “It’s a dirty world, but without us it would be a whole lot dirtier.” So goes the whole premise of “Edison Force”.
Deed and Lazerov are partners not in justice, but in corruption. Lazerov is a nightmare of a bully, an uncaring, unthinking walking tornado. Ready to murder on site and take drug money as payment at the drop of a lit match. Deed, we soon find out, has second thoughts about his life and his course of violence, sometimes inflicted upon innocent people. Deed is haunted by the thoughtless murder by Lazerov, of a kid desperately pleading for his life. Echoes of the young boy’s pleas of “Jesus, please—Jesus, Jesus,” are only silenced as he testifies at the trial of the accused, but actually framed and innocent, murderer who later whispers his thanks to Deed as he is leaving the courtroom.
Fresh and inquisitive journalist, Josh Pollack questions Deed and Lazerov after the trial as to why the accused was so thankful which sets off Lazerov to question the young rookie’s credentials. When he reveals he only works for a local Jewish community weekly, Lazerov sneers, “Tell our Jewish friends not to worry. I can still walk the worship.”
Through Moses Ashford’s nudging to “get things right” at any cost, to “commit to the story because the people are depending on you,” Josh Pollack uncovers the real story inside “Edison Force”’s F.R.A.T. and the dedication of leader Lazerov—they are protecting Tilman and his associates, including the editor of the respected Edison newspaper, The Herold, Jack Reigert (Cary Elwes). Through covert and unscrupulous business dealings, Tilman has managed to amass millions of dollars through money laundering and developed a covert fascist state under the names of the Political Action Commission and The Better Edison Foundation. Along the way to power he has sanctioned the ruthless murder of innocent people, doing some of the brutal killings himself. Jack Reigert is along for the ride after being promised a boot up in his aspiring political career.
Pollack’s unwavering desire to bring the truth to the public enlists the encouragement of his editor, who then draws upon the clout of long time friend and investigator Lee Wallace to get Officer Deed, a conscience-stricken man torn between honor and duty, to do the right thing and help them put an end to the corruption that infests Edison.
Pollack meets personally with Deeds, who is behind their “righteous” intent, but bows out and insists he just can’t do it. Deeds changes his mind after Pollack and his girlfriend are brutally attacked outside a club one night, by non other than Lazerov and his men. Pollack’s girlfriend is hospitalized and in a coma, which sets him even more intently on cleaning up Edison from the bottom out, even though his life is now most definitely in danger.
So it goes that Raif Deed finally gives in and vows to aid Pollack, Ashford and Wallace. With assistance from the FBI, Deed provides the hard evidence needed against Tilman to expose the murderous “Edison Force” underground, but he warns, “Write your story—but remember these guys are relentless killers. If something goes wrong—we’re all goin’ down.”
Of course they send a hitman to take care of Josh Pollack, and of course Raif Deed gets there just in time to save him. Of course, there’s the customary chase scene, shoot outs—lots and lots of blood, profanity and violence. Cool guys as well as bad guys smoke, drink and use profanity. I stopped counting all the foul language about ten minutes into the film, as I was getting writer’s cramp trying to keep up. Let’s just say there are various creative versions of the f-word throughout and that just about every character has no limits concerning profanity. Raw lust, drugs, sexual reference (although no nude scenes), perversion, deceit, murder, and just about every other non-Christian themes abound. This is not a movie for children so take heed to the R Rating! This is more than likely not a movie for 90% of the Christian audience, unless you can sit and take these themes in and not let them affect you!
There are no redeeming qualities in these characters, except for perhaps Deed’s need to do what’s “right,” the journalistic moral code of Moses Ashford, and the journalist Pollack; although he condones much of what’s going on or doesn’t protest at all save for his breaking story as a wake up call for all the good citizens of Edison (which we never get to read). The only discerning quote from Pollack is “Justice is a lot like journalism—sometimes the most important questions are the ones you decide not to ask.”
It’s a good thing all this happens in a fictional city with fictional names for banks, businesses and politicians. The script would never have worked if placed in the real New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. It is sheer fiction that any worthy journalist would not ask all the questions needed to inform their public of the horrific crimes depicted. The hard questions are the ones that break a story and wins the Pulitzer Prize (which, I might add, was the only factual reference in this story). And that the FBI would gather evidence and then not take over from there.
Don’t get me wrong—the actors in “Edison Force” did a wonderful, if not completely realistic job. I had no problem believing they were who they were portraying (with the exception of Justin Timberlake, who can act but needs a little more seasoning). The action was top notch and the fight scenes, especially between LL Cool J and Dylan McDermott were gripping. Morgan Freeman, as always, did a most convincing job and his final speech, without giving away the ending, was great.
As a Christian reviewer and believer in Jesus Christ, “Edison Force” was most offensive. Although I agree to a point with the cast that said this movie intrigued them because it was a “morality tale,” it is unquestionably not a moral tale. It depicts good and bad as bedfellows and never leaves us with any other choice accept to pervert the law to one’s own agenda and that anyone can get by with “murder” if at the end you do “what’s right.” True it asks, as Dylan McDermott states, “Will you do the drugs? Will you steal the money? Are you gonna lie or are you gonna cheat?” But then “Edison Force” never delivers a clear answer to who or what is the moral, just, pure, Godly right thing to choose in the end. One cannot cheat God. He has very clear instructions concerning right and wrong. There is no “easy out.”
Proverbs 29:4 clearly states that justice gives a country stability. And in verse seven that the righteous care for serving justice. Blessed are those who seek justice and do it comes from Psalm 106:3. Further on in Psalm 62 and Proverbs 24, God tells us that He will deal with us according to what we have done. Woe to those who have not followed His Will, for He will bring every deed to judgment.
I don’t have to spend too much Web space on the issues of Ten commandment fame, such as the issues of murder, false witness, God’s name taken in vain, thou shalt not steal, etc. All of which are covered quite extensively in this film. They cannot be condoned, no matter how great the acting. Period.
I was blown away that Producer Randall Emmett states the characters and events although not fact within the pages of this in particular story, ring very true to the people and places in writer/director David Burke’s real life experiences. Burke has spent most of his career up to this point doing documentary work and political media for very high political officials, even going so far as to describe it as propaganda. Spending great amounts of time in the big cities of America and supposedly being privy to instances not too far removed from those he wrote into his script!
“Edison Force” is dark, grainy, violent, unscrupulous, and totally Godless. I pray to God Almighty that Mr. Burke is wrong. I pray that our trusted leaders, legislators and our public protectors are NOT like those depicted in “Edison Force”. God help us all if they are!
Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate