SYNOPSIS: BLACK AND BLUE is a fast-paced action-thriller about a rookie cop (Academy Award® nominee Naomie Harris; Best Supporting Actress, Moonlight, 2016) who inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her body cam. After realizing that the murder was committed by corrupt cops, she teams up with the one person from her community who is willing to help her (Tyrese Gibson) as she tries to escape the criminals out for revenge and the police who are desperate to destroy the incriminating footage.
Instead of being mostly deskbound in Spectre, Naomie Harris gets shot at, shove against the wall, often bruised and brutally beaten up in the cop actioner, Black and Blue.
Harris plays Alicia West, a war veteran who returns to her hometown to become a rookie police officer. For a woman who is an African-American and helmed from the ghetto, West gets side-lined, discriminate by her fellow white male colleagues while at the same time despised by her own community people who feels she has abandoned her roots.
But Black and Blue is not one flick that relies heavily on social stigma, racism in the police force etc. It’s actually a simple gritty actioner about corrupted cops. Sounds familiar isn’t it? Still director Deon Taylor (The Intruder) manages to pull off a highly entertaining action thriller that keeps you glued to the screen.
Witnessing a few unarmed drug dealers being gunned down by detectives Malone (Frank Grillo) and Smitty (Beau Knapp), West finds herself on a desperate run from Malone and his cohort of corrupted cops. The only man she can turned to for help is former criminal turned storekeeper, Mouse (Tyrese Gibson). However it’s not just Malone who wants her bodycam which contains footage of the killing but also the ruthless head of a local ghetto, Darius (Mike Colter) who wants her dead.
While Black and Blue has a more or less heart-stopping pacing, that can’t be said of its clumsy handling of its many characters. None has a substantial backstory or narrative to speak of although the script attempts to paint a sympathetic picture of West and Mouse. What’s up with West relationship with Missy, a follower of Daruis? What exactly is Mouse’s past? Let’s not even delve into the one-dimensional antagonist Malone.
Still, the Oscar-nominated Naomie Harris gets the chance to shine as a female hero in a mainstream Hollywood movie. Moneypenny might be memorable but Alicia West is a far more commanding character to showcase her acting ability. Looking slightly weightier than his last Fast & Furious outing, it’s surprising to finally see Tyrese Gibson can actually act his heart out rather than being just an irritating loudmouth smartass. The other recognisable face, Frank Grillo continues his zillion outing as the “predictable villain in an action movie”.
Black and Blue works fine especially if you are not picky with storyline and narrative. For a budgeted title, it contains enough decent action sequences and more than decent production values. Does it come recommended? Absolutely!
Cast and crew talked about the action, characters and story in Line of Fire. Be the Change in the Big Easy is another brief segment on filming in New Orleans. There are nearly 5 minutes of Deleted Scenes to round up the extras.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is often bombastic enough to fill the room with loud gunshots and plenty of ambient sound effects. As for the DVD quality, we would say its time to do away with the format given the increasingly availability of large TV screens. Obviously, colours, texture and details are serviceable not exactly pleasing especially when it comes to black levels and closeups.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee