Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

Broken City - Review

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brokencityposter.jpgI have to admit, the idea of watching Russell Crowe chew the scenery up with his New York accent for two hours was enough to make me believe Broken City could enter the record books for historically horrendous movies.  Instead, it turns out Crowe isn't even in the top ten list of reasons this movie fails miserably.

Mark "Don't Call Him Marky Mark" Wahlberg stars as Billy Taggart - a New York City detective who controversially avoids charges of murder for shooting and killing a suspect in what he said was self defense.   Mayor Nick Hostetler (Russell Crowe) holds him up as a hero, since the suspect probably committed a heinous crime, but some evidence may exist that makes Taggart appear more guilty than previously believed.

Of course, a few years later, Hostetler decides to call in the favor when he needs some dirt dug up on his rival in the mayoral campaign.  And, of course, Taggart discovers the dirt may lead straight back to Mayor Hostetler! 

Broken City suffers because it is a long, slow painful march to the obvious.  Director Allen Hughes needs to pick up the pace and cut the fat from the script written by Brian Tucker.  We get horrible, laughable dialogue, especially when Crowe is forced to be the folksy mayor with all sorts of supposedly funny stories and observations that fall flat, while also stuck with a whole subplot about Taggart's love life that is only moderately related to the main story.  

Most of the big twists defy logic and make the audience easily see the flaws in how information is discovered or they are so melodramatic you might strain your eyeballs from rolling them that hard.
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And, Tucker never makes a great case for why the mayor is evil, which drives the motivation for just about every character in the movie.  They all act like this guy is JR Ewing and Stalin wrapped into one, but all Tucker and Hughes prove is that the mayor is a jerk, when true deviousness and devilishness needs to be seen for us to feel like he is the villain for reasons other than the movie tells us he is the villain.  I live in Washington, DC where our elected officials have avoided jail for doing things 20 times worse than anything this mayor is trying to pull off, so the bar has to be raised to make this guy seem worse than all of the other politicians we're familiar with.

Sadly, Wahlberg and Crowe put in strong performances with utter junk for material, but I still think I like it more than Life of Pi.

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1 Waffle (Out of 4)

Broken City is rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content and violence