BLACK AND BLUE doesn’t lose your attention and Naomi Harris (who I think is actually an incredible actress and needs to be in more films) delivers a powerhouse performance in this. However, every character other than her is completely dumb as fuck and every choice that they make is so idiotic it will make your head spin. I don’t think Hollywood realizes you can have a taut thriller where the bad guys and others can also be pretty smart yet the hero can still come out possibly saving the day using his/her own wits. Why does every character have to have an IQ of 5 just to make it logical for the protagonist to get out of some hot shit? You know what it is called? It is called lazy and convenient writing. Which is a giant no-no to a lot of film lovers, but to Hollywood, who cares as long as the money ultimately makes its way into their pocket. Don’t get me wrong, the film isn’t that bad, it’s a very decent rental, but when there are no other interesting characters, and the movie only has one surface level message, what’s the point?
And that surface level message is, all cops are corrupt, even non-white ones? I’m kidding, I’m kidding, the message was actually not all cops are bad people and not all people in poverty or in gangs are bad people either. Murder is murder, no matter the skin color or race. But that message is stamped home only 20 minutes into the film, and nothing about it is explored deeper. It just takes that nail and hits you over the head with it until the end credits when it already went straight through your brain the first swing. Instead, the movie should played with morals more and have the message a bit more ambiguous for the audience to ponder, and only at the very end drive a clear point home. Spoon feeding people is not going to help, because fortunately, most of us are smarter than the characters were in this film, and we are able to decode messages without them just spelled out for us large and bold on a giant canvas.
The movie is about this rookie woman cop, who happens to be African-American, and after being more than a decade in the army, she joins the police force in New Orleans, and not really understanding the climate between cops and citizens nowadays. She is pushed into a double shift, teaming up with this other black cop she doesn’t know, one that is a little tense and in no mood for any bullshit. He gets a call on his phone, saying that he has to meet up with a CI, gets to the location, and tells her ass to stay in the car. She doesn’t after hearing several loud gunshots coming from the building he went into. She investigates, witnessing the black cop and several white narc cops execute these kids right in front of her, and she had her police body cam on. She escapes, and the rest of the movie is a cat and mouse race between her and corrupt cops trying to silence her and retrieve her body cam. She tries to make it back to the police station to upload the footage and along the way tries to get help from a poor small market owner (played by Tyrese Gibson) and other black folks in the community that don’t trust cops, and so won’t trust her even though they are of the same skin color.
It just kind of saddens me that this movie could’ve been something really special. Don’t get me wrong, the movie never lost my attention, there are tense moments in the movie and like I said, Naomi Harris, who plays the main back protagonist cop, is incredible in this. It is just that all the dumb characters, the one dimensional message, the tame action, and all the plot holes were too extracting to ignore. There are a hundred different things a hundred different characters couldn’t done or said in the moment that would’ve immediately solved the problem, but the writers thought those would’ve ended the movie too soon and didn’t want to challenge themselves. They could’ve had those characters do or say those things, and still have written another smart wrench for the protagonist to get through to get to her goal. But nope, everybody in the movie had to be a dumb dumb in order for the narrative to just move lazily along. I almost slapped my own head when one character is captured, but just keeps his mouth shut and gets the shit beat out of him, when one sentence or two sentences of explaining to the tortures would’ve left him unharmed. There are other examples, but I really don’t want to get into spoilers. Just trust me that a lot of wasted opportunity was in this.
I’m going to end the review here, as I usually get into the writer and director, but I don’t know them that well to roast their asses. I guess the screenwriter could be blamed, for mainly being a writer on TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOT ACADEMY, but then again he wrote Flightplan, which was decent, so I obviously don’t know what the fuck he’s drinking or smoking. This movie is an entertaining mess. You get a emotional performance out of Naomi Harris (who was nominated for Moonlight and plays Moneypenny in the Daniel Craig bond films) and Tyrese Gibson isn’t bad, but then everyone else is just one dimensional stereotypical good guy or bad guy character. It’s just really, really, really, really, really lazy. I’m just tired of lazy. It is time to beef these things up.