Ethan Hawke plays a rookie cop looking to make detective by becoming part of Denzel Washington’s narcotics task force.
The biggest appeal in this glossy cop thriller is seeing Denzel playing totally against his usual holier than holy type and I sincerely wish that he’d taken more of these kinds of parts. Unfortunately it’s the reliance on surface gloss that is the film’s Achilles heel. If you were to ask a middle class, white 15 year old boy what it’s like to live in the “hood”, this is exactly what he’d describe; basically a living hip-hop video, complete with rappers, low-riders and hot and gratuitously naked Puerto Rican babes. The story and direction is effective but it chugs along with little pause for suspense and it lacks the grittiness and believability of the similar Narc.
It is clearly a quality action thriller that’s fuelled by Washington’s powerhouse performance but the female demographic may be put off by the constant macho posturing that makes it positively reek of testosterone.