You know, I went to this movie about two weeks ago just for the purpose of writing a review about it, and at the time, I thought it was a decent enough film; however, the fact that I just couldn't work up any motivation to say anything about it until now makes me realize how run-of-the-mill it truly was.
This is one of those "multi-generational" NY cop movies where not only is there all kinds of danger from the daily interaction with the "streets" you've got all kinds of problems from family relationships.
Doesn't this sound like something we've all seen about fifty million times?
The movie begins with a football game between New York's "Finest" and a team of officers from Detroit. This scene was one of the few that really grabbed my attention and made me wonder if there really is an amateur league of police football, or was this just something invented for the film? Unfortunately my interest is not plot-related, leaving me unable to follow it up (annoying) at least for the purposes of this review. The football scene introduces Colin Farrell playing Jimmy, a hot-shot (it is Colin Farrell after all), hard-headed, maverick, insert-your-favorite-cliche-here, renegade officer. Watching in the stands is his brother-in-law Ray (Edward Norton) who is suffering from some post-traumatic stress, a broken marriage, a tough relationship with his father, blah, blah, blah (I'm finding myself getting more annoyed with this movie as I write about it).
During the football game, a bunch of officers are killed in a shooting across town and, despite his rampant objections, Ray is commandeered into taking the case. I'm not going to say anything more about it, but anyone who has ever seen a movie before can probably guess who else is involved in the shooting.
There was one other scene in this film that kind of unintentionally cracked me up. A drug dealer comes to Jimmy's home to threaten him, and while he is standing in Jimmy's back-yard, there is a confrontation. The way that Farrell chooses to convey his mental state is to simply open his eyes REALLY wide. The scene kind of works (it had to on some level or it would have never made the final cut) but upon further review, this is an example of paint by numbers acting. The jury is still out on Farrell in my book. After being really good in "Tigerland" he essentially hasn't done anything. Most of his films consist of him just staring off into space, his mouth half-open. To some, I suppose this says "sexy." To me, it sort of says "primate." I think Farrell could be capable of some great performances, but he's growing comfortable with the idea of just sliding past, so I think it might be all over for him.
Norton also seems to be way past his relevance as an actor. The poor reception of "Fight Club" seems to have stopped both he and David Fincher from taking any chances (which is a shame because I, for one, would have liked to see more movies that went in that direction). Norton has become the modern day version of Bill Bixby (he even plays the incredible hulk), and his performances of late are workmanlike, competent, and very, very, conservative. In short, like everything else in this film, he 's BOOOORRRIINGG!