Things are far from fine in Antoine Fuqua's determinedly humourless policier.
Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle and Richard Gere (all delivering committed performances, furrowed brows, no smiling etc) are NYPD cops reaching melting point. Hawke needs dough, his wife (a blink-and-you'll-miss-it turn from Lili Taylor – women don't really get a look in in this testosterone driven, vaguely misogynistic, morality tale) is poorly and they need a new place for their growing family. Cheadle is undercover, in too deep, too involved in the drug dealing "game", which mainly involves saying "Yo B", "Yo G", "Yo P", which must be tiring. Understandably, he wants out, but his unsympathetic boss (a suitably creepy Will Patton) is keen for him to nail the big cheese (Wesley Snipes, criminally underused here). And, finally, Gere's burnt-out cop has only seven days left on the beat. He spends most of it visiting a prostitute (no Pretty Woman cutesiness here), sitting in his car, prevaricating about blowing his brains out and avoiding real police work – until, that is, the wretched fellow is finally forced to act. You care about Cheadle's character (as you do in virtually every film he's in), but after David Simon's monumental The Wire, every other cops and drug dealers drama feels dreary and leaden in comparison. Fuqua's follow-up to Training Day is particularly so. Yo, it's grim... grim... GRIM G.
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