After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups.
When a Las Vegas performer-turned-snitch named Buddy Israel decides to turn state's evidence and testify against the mob, it seems that a whole lot of people would like to make sure he's no longer breathing.
In Brooklyn, amid drug deals, violence, casual racism, poverty, housing projects, and corrupt cops, we follow three officers: Tango, African-American, working undercover, believing he's earned a promotion to a desk job but told he has to set up the bust of an ex-con who saved his life; Sal, who'll commit murder to get cash to buy a house big enough for his family; and, Eddie, the precinct's oldest beat cop, a week to go before retirement, assigned to mentor an earnest rookie. Can this end well for any of the three? Written by
Draws you right in from the start, builds tension to a climactic point late in the film. In the middle, you get to absorb a lot of NYC atmosphere which somewhat compensates for the formulaic nature of the film. You've seen it all before, there's no new ground, but its done in a way that will hold your interest.
Grim, adult movie themes highlight only the heavy issues that burden cops in this big city.
Cheadle, Hawke and Gere all develop very burnt-out, empty looks in their eyes that help make this film more believable than it really is. Lives have fallen apart (the personal lives of these cops). The script makes it clear that the job is rough on cop families, it makes this point almost to the point of overkill.
The women of this film are resigned to the belief that "its a man's world". They have bought this belief system almost totally. And yes I include Ellen Barkin's middle-aged super-boss-cop because she tries to be just like men in order to get to the top of this man's macho cop world/underworld environment.
Gere is subtle, very nuanced and effective in his role. Hawke is incredibly explosive in his role of a man desperately overstrung, or at least in need of a good vacation. Cheadle's mixed-up about-to-snap performance works perfectly with Snipes who gives a fine, mature, theatrical style performance. I'm ready to see more of the mature Snipes as his career progresses.
All the acting here is great and it overcomes the generally "seen it before" nature of the production. This is basically similar to Greek tragedy, so if you view it that way you won'be let down by the relentless grimness that is here from start to finish.
Entertainment value highlighted by enough tension, plus the studied pro performances rate an 8 rating from me.
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