39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2013
Broken City (2013) - Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind), Mark Wahlberg (Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, The Fighter), Catherine Zeta-Jones (Chicago, Zorro), Jeffrey Wright (Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace), Kyle Chandler (Super 8, Friday Night Lights)
This is a corruption drama. Mark Wahlberg plays a former cop turned private investigator hired by the Mayor of New York City (Crowe) to investigate the mayor's cheating wife (Zeta-Jones). It's a pretty standard story set against the backdrop of a mayoral race. It proceeds as you would expect - there are very few twists and turns in this paint by the numbers mystery. That said, is it a bad film? No. It's worth watching once - that said, I don't think this is a must have. Everyone gives a solid performance, though some come off a bit more hammy than others (Z-J/R.C. in their "dick measuring" contest scene). If you are a fan of Wahlberg and any of the actors listed, I recommend a rental.
47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2013
"If you think you're investigating adultery Mr. Taggart you don't know Nicholas Hostetler very well." Private investigator Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) is struggling to make money. When Mayor Hostetler (Crowe) hires him to follow his wife to see if she is having an affair Billy is offered an amount of money he can't turn down. After his findings lead to a murder Billy isn't sure who to believe anymore. I have to admit that I wasn't all that excited about this movie going in. Not a big Russell Crowe fan and the movie looked a little too generic from the preview. While the movie isn't really anything that new I really did enjoy this and was entertained the entire time. There were enough twists and double-crossing going on that it kept me guessing who was telling the truth the entire time. That to me is the sign of a good movie. This is not a movie that will become a classic or win a bunch of awards but it is very much worth seeing and is very entertaining. I recommend this. Overall, a good movie to put in and try and guess the end. I give it a B+.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
"Broken City" (2013 release; 109 min.) is a political crime drama in which we meet Billy Taggert (played by Mark Wahlberg), an ex-cop who is now a struggling private eue in New York. One day Taggert gets hired by New York's Mayor (played by Russell Crowe) to check out the Mayor's wife (play by Catherine Zeta-Jones), whom the Mayor suspects of having an affair. Taggert gets on it right away and wouldn't you know, he finds the Mayor's wife in the arms of the campaign manager of the Mayor's opponent in the upcoming election. Will this impact the Mayor's re-election prospects? Or will it torpedo instead the Mayor's opponent? Are there other twists and turns? To tell you more of the plot would ruin your vieweing pleasure, you'll just have to see for itself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: first and foremost, if you are expecting an action movie (as I did, having seen the trailer in previous weeks), be forewarned! This is an all-talk, hardly any action, movie. The first (and just about only) action comes 75 min. into the movie when there is a brief car chase. Then there are a couple of fist fights, but that's about it. This is in and if itself not a problem, if the talking leads to a compelling drama, in this case a political crime movie (similar to, say, the all-talk "All The President's Men". Alas, this movie is no "All The President's Men".
There are several noteworthy performances, first from Russell Crowe, who seems to enjoy his role of the overly zealous Mayor. Catherine Zeta-Jones as his wife steals several scnes with her charm. But the biggest surprise for me was Alona Tal as Kathy, the office assistant of Taggert. I don't think I had seen her before. Can't wait to see where she goes from here. I also liked the soundtrack quite a bit (scored by Atticus Ross). Meanwhile "Broken City" is not all that bad, but not all that great either and it is not the action movie that the trailer had lead me to expect.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A former cop with the New York City Police Department had been double-crossed and framed; seven years later he is hired by the mayor to track a (possibly) unfaithful wife.... Why does this sound so familiar?
...Sigh...There is nothing new in this l-o-n-g (109 minutes) R-rated action-filled mess. Dirty cops, corrupt politicians, unfaithful wives, deadbeat customers, you know the drill. My biggest problem was finding someone I could root for! Maybe that darling secretary? Maybe the lover?
* Mark Wahlberg ("The Fighter") is Billy. We want to root for him, but we can't forget those first scenes.
* Russell Crowe ("Les Misérables") is Mayor Hostetler. His phony smile can't disguise that little twitch under his left eye when he is tense.
* Jeffrey Wright ("Source Code") is Police Commissioner Fairbanks, who has me confused: is he clean or is he dirty?
* Catherine Zeta-Jones ("Rock of Ages") is Cathleen, the Mayor's wife. Is she or isn't she faithful?
* Kyle Chandler ("Zero Dark Thirty") is Paul, a political operative who is, believe it or not, the most decent guy in the whole movie.
* Alona Tal (Lots of TV) is Katy, Billy's Girl Friday in his private detective business. She's sweet and resourceful.
Expect gunshots, fisticuffs, vehicular mayhem and LOTS of talk, which, I was surprised to note, includes very little profanity. The R rating seems to be due to the violence of some of those fist fights. It struck me as funny that everyone is constantly drinking but absolutely no one smokes.
All in all, I didn't find this movie very involving; most of the characters seemed to be at arms-length. The talky script is Brian Tucker's first time out, so next time Mr. T. try the less-is-more rule and use two words instead of twenty, okay? Especially when you have them speak sotto voce and many of us in the audience can't make out most of that blasted dialogue. If you get the DVD from Amazon.com, at least it will have closed captions.
17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2013
Great actors, decent previews. What could go wrong? This movie slogs along and never gets going. Disjointed, anti-climatic, well you get the picture. It was so boring my mind was more interested in the art on our wall than the movie at the end. What a wast of actors I usually love to watch.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2013
Broken City (2013)
After all this time, I have to finally admit it: I like Mark Wahlberg. He's grown on me with each new role, even when the movies he's starring in aren't exactly masterpieces. He seems to have embraced the Tom Cruise mode of stardom where, while not stretching too far out of his comfort zone, he manages to play interesting variations on the same persona from movie to movie, and usually delivers an entertaining product. I've always loved Russell Crowe, a great actor who can either be subtle or chomp scenery like a champ (as he does here), and who can make even the lousiest movie he's in (think Man With the Iron Fists) into something at least watchable. It was on the strength of these two that I decided to watch Broken City, even though it didn't get the best reviews when it came out.
Wahlberg plays private investigator Billy Taggart, an ex-cop who was booted from the force in disgrace seven years prior for the questionable shooting of an accused rapist and murderer. Crowe plays Nicholas Hostetler, the wheeling and dealing mayor of New York City with whom Taggart has a bit of history. When the Mayor hires Billy during a re-election campaign to find the man with whom his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is having an affair, Billy thinks it's a simple adultery case. But as is often the case in movies like these, nothing is what it seems as Taggart uncovers a web of lies involving not only adultery but political intrigue, murder and a shady land deal that may be tied to his own troubled past...
The problem with Broken City is that it isn't sure what to focus on. There are just too many running subplots stuffed into this 100-minute flick: one involving Billy's aspiring actress girlfriend (who also happens to be the sister of the victim of the criminal that Billy shot) who is excited about starring in her first indie film, one involving the Police Commissioner who has his own reasons for wanting to investigate the Mayor, one involving Billy's young assistant and the "will-they-won't they" dynamic they have, one with the Mayor's opponent Jack Valiant (played by Barry Pepper with a freakin' sweet mullet) and his campaign manager (Kyle Chandler), one with the dysfunctional relationship between a powerful land developer and his son, and so on and so on. It's too much. The movie just kind of lurches from plot to plot and as a result, none of them are particulary satisfying.
Then there are the little implausibilities which took me right out of the movie. Since there were a bunch of them and I've already written a lot here, I'll stick to three main examples: **SOME SPOILERS AHEAD**
-The hilariously abrupt breakup between Taggart and his girlfriend. Basically, the girl does a pretty graphic love scene in her movie and apparently didn't forewarn Billy about its intensity, so his simmering jealousy about the relationship between his girlfriend and her co-star boils over and Billy, a recovering alcoholic, starts getting trashed at the after-party. Then his girlfriend confronts him after watching him have three drinks and says that it's over, and the only thing tying them together is the memory of her dead sister, and blah blah blah. Then she disappears from the film, never to be seen again. This after we've just spent the previous 40 minutes watching them engage in a tender, mutually loving relationship. It felt like the writer was writing the script and thought, "Oh well, time to move the story along, she hates him now!"
-At one point, Billy stakes out the Big Bad Corporation behind the shady land deal and sees a worker take a box of trash to the dumpster. He checks out the box and finds the "smoking gun": blueprints and projections for the planned real estate development in pristine condition. Not thirty seconds later, he looks in the office window and sees the office workers shredding every document, destroying all evidence of their misdeeds. WTF? Did this one guy just say, "ah, the heck with it, it's my smoke break, no need to shred these"?
-Evidence of Billy's shooting the rapist emerges in the form of an old videotape taken at the scene. I'm sorry, a videotape?? Even if you take into account that the incident took place seven years before the film, that still only makes the year 2006! I was waiting for the mayor to break out the BetaMax next. (Though I must say, I did like the wrinkle it presented for Wahlberg's character; in the end, he can't take the mayor down without implicating himself.) **END SPOILERS**
Reading all that, it seems like I didn't like the movie all that much, but that's not exactly the case. I liked it well enough for what it was: a modestly entertaining, B-level time-waster with some decent acting. It's the kind of film that would have played well on a rainy Sunday afternoon on TNT in the late '90s. In fact, it did remind me strongly of another movie from that era, the somewhat forgotten City Hall (1996) with Al Pacino and John Cusack. Come to think of it, maybe you should watch that instead.
Picture quality on the Blu Ray was, as expected for a newer release, very good with lots of deep blacks and no noticeable artifacts. Sound quality was good, particularly during the handful of action scenes. No extras of note aside from the usual fluff.
2.5 of 5 stars, rounded up to 3.
Broken City (2013)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Geoffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler
Directed by: Allen Hughes
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2013
Just not a well-made movie. Poor cinematography. Wahlberg doesn't want to be there. Crowe's hair looks painted on. Zeta-Jones acts like she's stoned on something. And the liberal bias is totally in your face. The mayoral-candidate is named "Valiant" and he's gay and he wants to tax everyone making over $200k. He's good and pure, while Crowe (hetero, part of the establishment) is evil. And the film being a modern "film-noir" masterpiece? Gimme a break. Films with poor production values are often labeled film noir, to disguise their low budgets and lazy cinematography. A total mess of a movie. Avoid it at all costs.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2013
Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) is a policeman who murders a killer/rapist who has escaped the criminal justice system. He gets off using a self defense plea, however the mayor (Russell Crowe) has evidence to the contrary.
We jump to seven years later. Billy, now a private detective, is living with the sister (Natalie Martinez as Natalie) of the victim of the man he killed. Natalie is an actress who is excited about her up and coming indie movie debut. Note to self: If you get naked in a film and make love to a man, tell your boyfriend before he sees it.
Meanwhile Billy is asked by the crooked mayor to investigate his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) who he believes is having an affair. It is an election year and he is running against young Connecticut carpetbagger Jack Valiant (Barry Pepper). Billy takes photos of the mayor's wife and Jack's campaign manager (Kyle Chandler) together. BTW the police commissioner (Jeffrey Wright) doesn't like the mayor either.
This early twist sets things up for later twists as Billy finds himself in over his head with feuding factions while trying to cope with his newly broken relationship.
This film left me unfulfilled. Russell Crowe didn't sing, which is a plus. The characters were stiff and the dialouge stale. This is just another "me too" crime drama. Wait for the rental.
Parental Guide: F-bomb. Quick on screen sex scene, which may of had some even quicker nudity.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2013
I found this poorly written, mis-cast, devoid of energy and had to turn it off halfway through. I wonder how movies like this get made - maybe they blew the whole budget on the big name cast members.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2013
I felt like a confused old man the entire movie, hoping it would all click eventually. After about an hour and a half, my confusion turned to frustration, and the pay off was a very 'meh' ending. Great cast, pretty good acting, except Wahlberg and Crowes accents. And Zeta-Jones character being pointless. And Barry Pepper's gay for his campaign manager? Ah, screw the cast, it sucked. Waste of time, my lady friend came over and she chose this to spend our evening together. Almost dumped her.