Broken City


Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe square off as a fallen ex-cop and a corrupt mayor in this tale of political intrigue, suspense and conspiracy.

Except without the political intrigue, suspense and conspiracy.

Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe) is running for reelection in New York City. In order to get a handle on his wife’s extra-marital activities, he hires a private eye who used to be a cop, Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg). Years ago, Hostetler used the power of his office to quash damning evidence that would have proven Taggart’s guilt in the shooting of a suspect, so now he figures he has Taggart in his pocket.

Indeed, Taggart is washed up and down on his luck, and grateful for the work. He starts to grow a case of the morals, however, when he realizes that the Mayor’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) isn’t cheating on him, but going behind his back politically. When Taggart begins to question why, he unravels a politically charged conspiracy that threatens to derail the Mayor’s campaign.

As he moves forward with the investigation (of his own accord now), the powers that be begin to get uncomfortable, and the situation turns violent. There are a couple of murders committed in the name of perpetuating the cover up, and Taggert himself comes into danger. It’s then that he’ll have to square off against the Mayor and decide whether to sell out (and protect himself from the secret evidence the Mayor has been holding) or throw down.

With three leads of this calibre, and actors such as Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper, and Kyle Chandler in support, you know you can count on some decent acting. The script just doesn’t help them out, though. Simply put, “Broken City” isn’t nearly clever enough to be the movie that it would like to be. Instead of a political thriller loaded with intrigue and corruption, twists and turns, etc., it comes across as a generic thriller that we’ve seen in numerous prior incarnations. There’s really never any question that the Mayor is crooked (thanks, trailers!), and the plot that eventually is uncovered is a fairly hack trope for corruption fiction. It certainly won’t cause anyone in the audience to gasp in disbelief or anything, let’s say that.

It’s a bit of a shame, because the cast was enjoyable, and there were certain stretches of the movie where I could envision the film that it had wanted to be when it started out. It just never got there, though.

Over-simplified, stereotypical and unmemorable, “Broken City” is indeed in need of repair.


Daniel Fogarty

49 thoughts on “Broken City

  1. I was going to see this one, but not having much time or money, I think I’ll hold off. Too bad. I like Russel Crowe but he seems to missing the mark lately.

    • Yeah… he hasn’t had a great role in awhile, and the best one he HAS had (Javert) people are kind of kicking his singing around! LOL

      He did do well though here, make no mistake, I put none of this on the cast in this instance… 😦

  2. I thought the movie looked promising from the previews, but now have second thoughts. I still plan on seeing it though. Good review—makes me more prepared for the movie.

  3. The twists and turns, as interesting and as rampant as they may be, don’t add up to shite and basically, the cast is just left there to pick up the pieces. They try and in ways, they succeed, but ultimately: not enough. Good review Fogs.

  4. Definitely a rental….I think I like Marky Mark in comedic roles rather than action films. Except for maybe The Fighter and the Departed. Oh wait, the Italian Job was ok too. You know what, I think I like Wahlberg in action. Never mind.

  5. So why does a Mayor’s wife go behind his back politically? It sounds like the only interesting thing about this movie but not enough to make me go out and actually watch it.

  6. The draw of Crowe and Wahlberg is still enough, I wonder how well those two got on, on set? There have been quite a few movies of late that should really have excelled given the sum of their parts (Lawless springs to mind and this appears to have fallen the same way.Nice review!

    • Yeah…. well…. right now is the bad time. You know? Jan and Feb are going to be rough to get through. It IS Hollwood’s dumping ground. Its like the woods that they dumb all their garbage in, hoping no one will notice. So… more to come over the next few months, unfortunately. 😦

  7. Pretty much nailed this one in your review. This movie really did just fall flat. Such a shame, too, especially given the talent involved. But eh, oh well. Nice review! 🙂

    • Yeah, your suspicions were spot on, this movie IS exactly what the trailers suggest. Kind of cheaply done political thriller material, without the script to pull it off 😦

      Too bad, cause the cast WAS pretty good Mark… 😦

  8. Great Review Fogs, I was appalled by this one when I saw it in theaters. You nailed it when you said that it’s not nearly as funny (or anything else) as it’s trying to be, and the fact that it tries so hard is more sad than anything. Luckily for the cast, nobody saw it this weekend and nobody will remember it for long

    • Yeah I saw your review, actually, but I didnt read to far into it cause mine hadnt posted yet.

      You were hatin’ all over it Bro! 😀 I dont care mind you, but didnt you say Haunted House was better or some such?

      That’s just plain carzy talk. Crazy people say thing like that. LOL

  9. Pingback: Broken City Review: Completely Beyond Repair | Rorschach Reviews

  10. I liked it more than you did, but I do agree with your review. However, there was a mystery in the film. How did Crowe get elected wearing that ridiculous hair style? Well, it could of been worse. The mayor could have been played by Donald Trump. I also like the line Jeffery Wright said as he’s arresting the mayor, making us think he was screwing the wife.

    • “I liked it more than you did, but I do agree with your review.” – Welllll, that last part’s all that counts right buddy? LOL 😀

      Anyways, yeah, Crowe had a pretty silly coiffe no doubt. LOL. That was a good line by Wright, who obviously I have a soft spot for seeing as he’s the current Felix Leiter 😉

  11. Usually I’m excited when a new Russell Crowe comes around, but not the case with this one. I think your last line sums it up perfectly Fogs. You’re great with those puns don’t cha? 😉

  12. Hi, Fogs and company:

    Crowe doesn’t seem to be doing “contemporary” very well recently.

    Simple solution.

    Get Peter Weir, Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany and a clutch of writers together. Add a bunch of money. De-mothball HMS Surprise for another Captain Jack Aubrey adventure. That would put him back on top in a hurry!

    Especially if you include Sean Bean for a nemesis and another epic death scene.

    • I like that! I like what you’re pitching, Jack! Master and Commander 2? Helllllllll yes! Bring that on! 😀

      I dont know why it never happened in the first place? Maybe too big a production challenge? Im not sure. 😦

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