STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler, Natalie Martinez, Alona Tal, Justin Chambers
DIRECTED BY: Allen Hughes
Mark Wahlberg has been making some really good choices recently in terms of films. The Fighter, for example, stands out as a great choice for him. Russell Crowe, well, he was in Les Miserables which did well despite his singing. Somehow, these two read the script for the painfully boring Broken City and decided this was the film they wanted to make.
In what would normally be wrapped up in an hour on Law and Order, Wahlberg plays Billy Taggart, an ex-cop turned Private Eye who is hired by the mayor (Russell Crowe) to spy on his cheating wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones). Only, Wahlberg isn’t any ex-cop, he has a sketchy background where he may-or-may-not have executed someone in cold blood. And the wife? Well, she may-or-may-not be cheating on the mayor with someone (Kyle Chandler) from his opponent’s (Barry Pepper) campaign. Of course, this is on of those films where nothing is as it seems, but everything is exactly as it seems, and you see everything coming a mile away. This is a redemption story for Billy, above all else.
Again, this plot could have been wrapped up in one episode with Law and Order. The almost two hour runtime feels needlessly unnecessary, as you find Wahlberg over investigating a plot that was obvious to you thirty minutes ago. He comes across as the least competent detective in New York, and Crowe seems to be sleepwalking through his role as the mayor, mainly because he has very little to do except play the obvious villain. Zeta Jones doesn’t offer much as the wife, and she honestly seems a little ‘big’ for her part, considering how little she’s on screen. The direction from Allen Hughes, who has offered us more in the past (Menace II Society) just seems like an average TV director on an episode of NCIS. Competent, but bland.
This isn’t anything new, it doesn’t bring anything exciting to the table or the genre. This ‘Broken City’ seems like every other city you’ve seen before, except this detective could benefit from knowing he was in a movie. Maybe then, he’d be able to jump ahead to the ending, and save us all an hour of our lives.
FINAL GRADE: C-