Movie Review: Broken City by Jason Burleson

Broken City PosterIn my opinion, Marky Mark has always been hit and miss. However, one of my favorite movies is Shooter which was made in 2007.  Since then, I haven’t really seen Mark Wahlberg do anything I would watch more than one time.  Some would say Mark Wahlberg did really well in Contraband, but again I have only watched that movie once.  So when I was asked to see Broken City, my expectations were mediocre.  I knew this was another cop drama, I knew there would be swearing, and I knew that there was a more than slim chance I would get to see Marky Mark punch Russell Crowe in the face at least once. I like all of these, so I gave it a shot.

Broken City is a film directed by Allen Hughes and is centered around Wahlberg’s character, Billy Taggart. Taggart is an ex-cop turned private investigator who is hired by New York’s mayor, Nicholas Hostetler(Russell Crowe, Gladiator and Les Miserables) in order to learn more of his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones, The Mask of Zorro) possibly having an affair. Taggart’s character quickly learns that the man suspected is Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights) who is the political manager of Hostetler’s competition for mayor, Jack Valiant(Barry Pepper, Saving Private Ryan and True Grit).  Hostetler is quick to receive information and pushes Taggart to hand it over before he is completely sure of what is actually happening between them all.  During this time, Taggart struggles with his past and Andrews ends up dead.  Taggart continues his investigation, only to discover there is a lot more going on than he thought. Hostetler holds Taggart’s past against him as blackmail in order to not become accountable for the murder.  Eventually, everything comes down hard on Taggart and he realizes he has to make sacrifices for the justice he desires.

Broken CityYeah…Confused yet? There are a lot of events, names, details, and small points to keep track of in this film so be prepared if you are going to watch it.  You will definitely stay on the edge of your seat if not only because your trying to realize if Taggart’s talking about the mayor, the commissioner, the bodyguard, the actor, the pizza guy, your mom, the mayor’s wife, her aunt, his girlfriend, the mayor’s opposition, the political manager, the guy next door, the random girl, blah blah blah… You get the point.  There are tons of characters in this movie and keeping them all straight in Wahlberg’s Boston accent while he’s arguing with Russell Crowe’s kiwi accent is a challenge. That being said, I still think this is a fairly decent film.  Besides the difficult name game, the writers do a good job of setting up Wahlberg for emotional scenes.  Taggart is having trouble at home while he’s investigating the mayor’s wife.  Taggart is constantly conflicted with his past even though he was trying to up hold justice.  In the end , he has to decide if his sacrifices are worth it.

I can’t say that I am a huge fan of Wahlberg’s acting skill in this movie though.  I guess it’s because he has the Boston accent going for him and cops sound more legitimate in Boston, but he keeps getting these roles, and I don’t know why.  I think that’s why I liked him in Shooter so much. He plays a “dumb redneck hick” really well and he is really good as an action character, just not a detail-oriented, thinker.  I’m also not sure why they made him watch a really awkward sex scene of Taggart’s girlfriend (a wannabe actress) and some actor, with all three of them sitting next to each other in the theater. It seems cruel and unnecessary given his history.  Russell Crowe however does a wonderful performance of being a sarcastic, a** hole politician, not a stretch for Russell Crowe. The lighting of the film is overall dark and adds to its dramatic quality.  However, the metronome soundtrack sometimes makes it seem like I was listening to a clock, waiting for something to happen that never comes.

All in all, I feel like this was your average crime drama. Go into it expecting that and be prepared to pay close attention or you will miss something. It does keep the average movie goer thinking and is probably worth renting, but may not be worth your twelve dollars.  Someone needs to stop giving Whalberg all that “chowdah” though.  I’m pretty sure with all that sweating and heavy breathing he did in this film, he’s going to have a heart attack soon. Don’t beat me up, Marky Mark.

I give Broken City 2.5 “Bottles of Spray Tan” out of 5.

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by Jason Burleson

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