BROKEN CITY (R16) (108 min)
Directed by Allen Hughes
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta Jones.
We have recently acquired ourselves a new chicken. We call her Bonnie. Bonnie lasted three days before she got her head stuck in the neighbours' fence, and was set upon by the other chickens. I arrived home to find Bonnie in a right mess, much distressed, and frankly about five minutes away from a quick date with the kindling axe.
But, my darling Kate said no, and so we've spent a month nurturing Bonnie back to health. She still limps, and probably always will, and she might never be able to climb the ramp to the palatial coop we'd built for her, but we reckon Bonnie fits in just fine with the rest of our menagerie.
Comprising as it does: Koha the epileptic dwarf cat with deformed rear legs, and Wu, who was once in perfect health, but has now reached about 120 in cat years, and can no longer see, walk much, or tell the difference between a litter box and my work boots.
So you'll know I'm speaking the truth when I say that I have a real affection for the misshapen, the malformed, the unfortunate, and the just plain deranged.
But even I draw the line at Broken City.
Broken City probably seemed like a good idea at the time. There's Mark Wahlberg; a cop, in it up to his cap for a cold-blooded revenge shooting, even though the clearly corrupt New York mayor says he's on his side.
The cop resigns, sets up shop as a private eye – cue a spot of utterly gratuitous nudity as Wahlberg fearlessly photographs adulterous couples through bedroom windows – and after a mere eight years have passed, the mayor calls, looking for evidence that his own statuesque missus has been getting her leg over in some other cad's bed. And here comes the conspiracy.
It sounds fine on paper, it really does. But on the screen, Broken City just doesn't hang together. At one point Wahlberg leaves a party so drunk he can barely walk.
Then his cell phone rings, and for no reason at all, he is told to report to a murder scene. Instantly stone cold sober, Wahlberg turns up, and is then told some completely confidential information by the man who fired him eight years before, for absolutely no reason at all.
To me that reeks of a film that has either been butchered on the editor's bench, or was just never thought through at all. Wahlberg is fine, playing exactly the same angsty little ball of resentment he generally does.
Opposite him Russell Crowe goes through the motions, but we know that he is only there for the pulling power of his name on the poster. Director Allen Hughes (one half of The Hughes Brothers) and writer Brian Tucker are clearly much enthralled with Roman Polanski's Chinatown. The retro-shab of Wahlberg's office, a few plot points, and even a caption on the TV news all point there. Well, to bastardise a line that Broken City itself quotes, I've seen Chinatown, and Broken City you ain't no Chinatown.
- © Fairfax NZ News