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Movie Review

Brooklyn's Finest

MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence throughout, strong sexuality, nudity, drug content and pervasive language.

Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Action, Crime, Drama
2 hr. 20 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
March 5, 2010 (wide—1,800+ theaters)
DVD: July 6, 2010
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Justice of God




The Ten Commandments

The Final Judgment

The final judgment of God

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

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Featuring: Richard Gere (Eddie), Don Cheadle (Tango), Ethan Hawke (Sal), Wesley Snipes (Caz), Vincent D'Onofrio (Carlo), Brian F. O'Byrne (Ronny Rosario), Will Patton (Lt. Bill Hobarts), Michael K. Williams (Red—as Michael Kenneth Williams), Lili Taylor (Angela), Shannon Kane (Chantel), Ellen Barkin (Agent Smith), Wass Stevens (Det. Patrick Leary), more »
Director: Antoine Fuqua—“Training Day,” “Shooter,” “King Arthur
Producer: Overture Films, Millennium Films, Thunder Road Productions (as Thunder Road Film Productions), Nu Image Films (as Nu Image), Langley Productions (as Langley Films, Inc.), Brooklyn’s Finest Productions, Elie Cohn, Boaz Davidson, Antoine Fuqua, Robert Greenhut, Basil Iwanyk, Jesse Kennedy, John Langley, Avi Lerner, Joe Napolitano, Jeanne O'Brien, Kat Samick, John Thompson, Mary Viola
Distributor: Overture Films

“This is war. This is Brooklyn.”

In 2001, an LA based police drama called “Training Day” was released to rave reviews. It was gritty, grisly, real, and the performances were award winning including a Best Actor Oscar for Denzel Washington. The director of “Training Day”, Antoine Fuqua, was then considered the next up and coming filmmaker in Hollywood. Since then, however, Fuqua has yet to find an audience with any of his films whether they’re action dramas or not. He’s tried his hand at military (“Tears of the Sun”) as well as medieval (“King Arthur”) films but can’t seem to capture whatever he had in “Training Day.” With his latest effort, “Brooklyn’s Finest”, Fuqua takes the same subject matter as well as some of the same cast as “Training Day.” While it’s probably the best film he’s made since then, “Brooklyn’s Finest” feels too familiar to be Fuqua’s next masterpiece.

The plot centers around three very different stories involving three officers in Brooklyn, NY. Played by Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, and Ethan Hawke, each character is at a different point in his career and is faced with a challenge. As the stories converge we see how each plays out in gritty, gory detail. Each character is forced to ultimately make a choice that will affect not only them personally but also how the audience views them and their actions.

As in “Training Day,” “Finest” contains quite a number of moral quandaries. Fuqua seems to revel in questioning the audiences’ opinion of right and wrong. He deals heavily with symbolism, and directs every scene with such intensity that it feels as though you’ve been to battle. He also plays word games with the film’s title making you rethink it by movie’s end. ***SPOILER ALERT*** At the beginning we are to believe that all of these men are in fact Brooklyn’s finest officers in the plural sense of the word, but as we see the choices that each man makes and the results of those choices, we realize as the credits start to roll that only one of these men is Brooklyn’s finest officer, in the singular sense of the word. It’s this dynamic that is easily the best and most redeeming aspect of the film.

The problems with the film are mostly story related. These three stories all converge, but, before then, they each get bogged down in cliché ridden dialogue and too much melodrama. The cast is superb, including the three I mentioned, as well as Wesley Snipes in a performance that seemed to be tailor made for the Bronx native. It just all seems a little familiar, and, because of this, the viewer doesn’t care as deeply as is necessary to make the ending pack any sort of emotional punch.

From a content perspective, the film is about the slums of Brooklyn, and director Fuqua has gone to great lengths to depict this as realistically as possible. This means countless profanities, explicit violence, as well as graphic nudity and sexuality. None of this is glamorized in any way, but is depicted as a sad, real part of life. It also makes this movie completely inappropriate for kids. A high level of Christian discernment should be taken when contemplating seeing “Brooklyn’s Finest.”

There is a good message in the film, one of doing what’s right no matter how difficult. But it’s also a simple message that can be found in countless other films that are made better and easier to watch. Despite that message and the cast, it’s just a tough movie to sit through from a content and moviemaking perspective. Because it feels so much like “Training Day: New York Edition”, “Brooklyn’s Finest” just doesn’t stand on its own.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:


Neutral—This movie is as the reviewer described it. It does have a good message about right and wrong and how sometimes the lines are blurred given the complexity of a situation. However, it has a lot of profanity, violence and nudity. All of it is very relevant to the story, but if you are trying to avoid these things then this movie is not for you. DEFINITELY this movie is for adults only!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Extremely Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Holly, age 34 (USA)
Negative—“Brooklyn’s Finest” is a sordid tale about the corruption of the NYPD. The film shows three stories simultaneously. A soon to retire cop (Richard Gere). An undercover cop who wants off his assignment (Don Cheadle) and a corrupt cop who steals money from drug runners (Ethan Hawke). Evidently there’s a phenomenon of cops in New York who are stealing drug money from the drug runners. Ethan Hawke plays one of these cops who routinely steals the evidence (usually cash money) from the suspects he’s supposed to be arresting.

The film does a good job in showing his character’s motivations. He lives in a small damp house with his wife who is sick and pregnant with twins and their three children. His wife is ill due to the asbestos in the home. This provides the viewer with a level of compassion for him. However, the bible clearly states in Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).”

Ethan’s character has another interesting dimension—he was Catholic. He goes to confessional asking the priest why God wouldn’t help him. He has a strong contempt for God and proceeded to do what he wanted rather than waiting on the Lord to deliver him from his financial troubles.

At the end of the film all three characters are tied together in an interesting twist most of them end up dead. This is a righteous ending as the bible states in Romans 6:16 “Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Monie Valentine, age 39 (USA)