Naomie Harris leads Black and Blue a fast-paced action drama about rookie cop Alicia West.
Alicia witnesses and accidentally records the unlawful killing of an unarmed black drug dealer by corrupt narcs officers on her body cam. With the help of an unwilling old friend Milo ‘mouse‘ Jackson (Tyrese Gibson), she must race against time to upload the evidence before getting killed by not only her fellow officers but drug Kingpin Darius (Mike Colter) who seeks revenge for the murder of his nephew.
Black and Blue is one of those movies you expect to be great because your fave actress or almost fave actor/singer is in it but then you realise okaaay that’s why Tyrese was promoting the hell out of it on social media. Think of it as a knock off Training Day.
New to her job Alicia returns to her old neighbourhood with good intentions. However, she is met with indifference by her old friends who do not trust the police and now will not trust her. When she witnesses the murder she instinctively wants to do the right thing even if that means turning in her fellow officer. She is forced to pick a side, is she a Black woman from the community or is she a Blue a cop who polices the community? Thinking that there are no ‘sides‘ she does what she believes is right hoping to bridge a gap and make things better ‘one step at a time‘.
Tyrese as Mouse is an ex-criminal who now works at the local liquor store trying to keep his head down. He wants no parts in helping the distressed cop when she comes knocking for help but unwillingly becomes her sidekick. His character gains sympathy when he is held at gunpoint after calling the police for help, he sheds tears as he is dehumanised by the officer and made to grovel for his life, but gets his own back later ultimately taking back his strength and giving the officer a taste of is own medicine in one of the film’s more redeeming scenes.
Now let us get on to Mike Colter (Luke Cage) who plays drug Kingpin, Darius. For some reason his character just does not befit him, he is over-exaggerated and very dated. The dialogue between him and the narc officer Terry Malone (Frank Grillo) is just blah and his general presence throughout the film is corny and unconvincing. There’s a priceless scene that had the cinema audience in cackling out loud, when Darius is supposed to look menacing but ultimately looks like a parody of a ‘gangsta’.
Directed by newcomer Deon Taylor (Meet the Blacks), Black and Blue had potential. It intends to be about police corruption and seems to aim to explore issues such as police brutality, the unlawful killing of black men, the tension between the police and the black community; but it falls short as if not wanting to delve too deeply into murky waters. The relationship between the characters is not developed enough and although for the most part, the acting is good the film felt dissected, Harris and Gibson in one film and Frank Grillo and his narcs’ team in another. Instead of concentrating on creating action scenes, time could have been better spent building the storyline and executing a more powerful drama.
However, I won’t call Black and Blue a total failure, it was good in parts, exciting in others but just didn’t seem to be all the way there. It definitely isn’t something I expected Harris to be a part of, though she definitely held her own as the lead. Predictable but watchable. You won’t leave the cinema annoyed and, to be honest, the audience reaction to some of the more outlandish moments make the experience at least entertaining.
Black and Blue is currently in UK cinemas.