Brooklyn’s Finest follows three different cops who are anything but the finest. Set in the largest and most crime prone precincts, each member of this New York borough police force face their personal demons while fighting crime until the ultimate bloody conclusion.
Eddie Dugan (Richard Gere) starts his morning with a drink of whiskey and then puts his empty hand gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger. He’s put in 22 years on the force without having done anything extraordinary or necessarily dangerous. Counting the last 7 days left before his retirement and collecting his pension, he is given a new assignment of breaking in rookies. This does not sit well with him. He just wants to make it through his final days without incident to spend his nights with his booze and usual prostitute. He turns a blind eye to injustice happening right in front of him when he’s not working. It’s scary to think there may be real police out there who are passively waiting while they put in their time.
Sal Procida (Ethan Hawke) is a narcotics detective. He’s got a sickly wife (Lili Taylor) who is pregnant with twins to add to their 4 other children. He’s so desperate to move them out of their small house. His wife’s asthma is exacerbated by the mold spores in their house. He has resorted to stealing cash from drug dealers to put a down payment on a house. To his partner’s dismay, he tries to justify it because the money taken from these busts just go to pay for the fancy offices of city officials. He’s so stressed; he’s like a junkie doing anything he can to get the dirty money from the drug raids.
Clarence Butler (Don Cheadle), with a street name of "Tango," has been working undercover so deep that he’s ready to crack. His handler, Bill Hobarts (Will Patton), keeps promising that he will get the promotion that he wants, an office, and a desk if he does one last thing. The tough-as-nails and ambitious Agent Smit (Ellen Barking) wants Tango to set up the local kingpin, Caz (Wesley Snipes). This creates a major dilemma for Tango, as Caz saved his life in prison.
Antoine Fuqua, who directed Training Day, treats this story with the same technical polish but it lacks an emotional balance. The screenplay is by Michael C. Martin, once a New York City transit worker that grew up in Brooklyn, who focuses on a world that is bleak, hopeless, and dangerous. The original ending of the film that was shown at Sundance included a suicide which would make this dark movie even more nihilistic.
The major characters never actually interact. Their stories eventually intersect one night at a housing project, where they leave a wake of bodies behind them from their own showdowns. This movie is violent from the opening scene. The cops use unauthorized force at every turn while the drug dealers shoot back. Bodies start piling up quick. This film does not exactly present an incentive to recruit new law enforcement officers, but it does work as a B-movie melodrama. (Review by Reesa Cruz Hawkins of Dallas Movie Screenings)