Broken City

WRITTEN BY: Brian Tucker
DIRECTED BY: Allen Hughes
STARRING: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper
RATING: 1 star

How do I even begin to describe how terrible Broken City is? It's too long, boring, predictable, has awful dialogue, the characters are unlikeable and there's far too much bad acting from supposedly good actors. In fact, I'm struggling to think of one good thing about it. Writer Brian Tucker has made his debut with Broken City, but I think he needs some screen-writing lessons. Director Allen Hughes has also struggled with the script and tried to overcompensate with the camera, but the effect is just dizzying in parts.

Broken City tells the story of disgraced New York policeman Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) who becomes a private investigator. He is hired by Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) to follow his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) around to gather evidence that she is having an affair before the forthcoming election. But Billy inadvertently uncovers a massive conspiracy of corruption and murder that threatens his own life.

I've always been a fan of Russell Crowe. He has disappointed me in some roles but I have always backed him – even during the phone-throwing years. He's a quality actor. Unfortunately, not even he could save this film, although I thought he delivered the bad dialogue better than anyone else. I'm not sure what was going on with his orange face. Was it intentional to have a fake tan to juxtapose his character's fake persona? Or was it just a simple make-up disaster? As for Wahlberg, well he has never convinced me that he can actually act. It has never really mattered though because he has often been in revenge-themed action films that require little acting ability on his part. He is as wooden as ever but at least he takes his shirt off to keep the drool factor high for his fans.

It's hard to believe Zeta-Jones has won an Oscar. She has been fussier with her film choices in recent years and yet her past two performances (she also appeared in Side Effects) have been very weak. She seemed to over-act in Broken City and she struggled with the delivery of her character's terrible dialogue. The remaining cast was barely memorable, although it's a shame that Kyle Chandler, who had roles in Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, would follow those films up with this.

If you value your time and money, don't waste either on Broken City.