BROKEN CITY Blu-ray Review
I am typically a sucker for thrillers, especially ones that have a major plot twist that you don’t see coming. These types of films typically have some fantastic characters and a nice mix of suspenseful action thrown in for good measure. Broken City fails to deliver on all points. Directed by Allen Hughes (Book of Eli, Menace II Society), it stars Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kyle Chandler, Barry Pepper, and Justin Chambers. This seems like it would be a great cast for a thriller, let alone any film. That is what I thought when I was first reporting on this film during production. Get ready for some major disappointment because Broken City is one of the worst thrillers I have seen in a long time.
The story follows Billy Taggart, a broke ex-cop-turned private eye (Wahlberg) who takes a high-paying gig to spy on the wife (Zeta-Jones) of the mayor of New York City (Crowe). Billy and the Mayor have past history together. After he was involved in a controversial shooting on duty, the Mayor stepped in so he was able to avoid a prison sentence. After some investigating, he realizes that mayor’s motives are deeper and darker than he initially said. This causes Billy to have to risk his life and career to reveal the truth.
What kills the film is the pacing. I can enjoy a slow burn, but only if there is a payoff at the end. The problem is that the payoff is lackluster. It did not help that we have seen this story before, and better for that matter. If you are looking for a great political thriller starring Crowe and a great cast, I recommend State of Play.
The characters seemed to be very subdued, which could be that they were just showing up for a paycheck. Crowe can typically bring some intensity to his character, yet all he brings this time is an overly tan almost orange character. His New York accent is poor as well. Mark Wahlberg is a decent actor, but should stick with action or comedy. He is not solid enough to take on a thriller. Kyle Chandler is horribly underused in this role, but that is because of the story. I am hopeful he gets the lead role he deserves in the near future.
One of the only things that this Blu-ray has going for it is it’s video quality. Even though the film was shot digitally, it looks gritty and almost film-like. This lends to the film noir styling that Hughes attempts to go for. If you are thinking of buying or renting this disc, the DVD or VOD options might be sufficient since this is not a film that has a lot of VFX eye candy. The sound quality is standard with a DTS 5.1 surround track.
The Broken City Blu-ray does not have a ton of special features, The disc includes the following HD extras:
- Deleted Scenes and an Alternate Ending
- Putting It All Together: A making-of documentary that is 35 minutes worth of detail into the movie. This feature covers the Hollywood “black-list” script that had been in development hell, as well as the casting and directing.
- Theatrical Trailer
- Sneak Peek: A Look at some of 20th Century Fox’s upcoming films.