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Hollywood Product: Brooklyn’s Finest 

Antoine Fuqua masters the cop thriller

GENRE: Gang-fueled cop drama

THE PITCH: An NYPD officer kills an honor student at a housing project in Brooklyn, escalating the tension between the tenants, the gangs and the police department. The film profiles three cops: Eddie (Richard Gere), a washed-out beat cop; Sal (Ethan Hawke), a troubled, financially challenged SWAT officer; and Tango (Don Cheadle), an undercover officer deeply embedded within a Brooklyn gang and seeking a way out.

MONEY SHOTS: Newly retired Eddie follows a man he suspects of kidnapping a missing woman into the bowels of the projects, hoping to free her from her captor. Inside, he's forced to wrestle with his own fears and demons, resulting in some so-intense-you-can-barely-breathe moments.

BEST LINE: Tango's frustrated with demands from Lt. Hobarts (Will Patton) and FBI agent Smith (Ellen Barkin). When he insists they do something to move the operation forward, agent Smith explains, "I do police work, but that doesn't mean I clean up monkey shit in the jungle," causing Tango to launch himself at her and deliver a long-awaited ass whooping.

LOSING HIS RELIGION: Sal's torn between his Catholic faith and the choices he's forced to make to deal with his increasing financial troubles. After committing a crime, he goes to confession, seeking absolution. When the priest attempts to console him, Sal says, "Prayer was not going to get me what I needed." He then tries to explain his feelings by saying, "He [God] gets all the glory and I get all the blame."

BODY COUNT: Including the dead body of the innocent boy at the film's beginning, there are 18 deaths. It's an Antoine Fuqua film so there's no shortage of cop violence.

MP3-TO-BE: The Beastie Boys' "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" blares as the camera makes its way to the first crime scene in the Brooklyn projects. Eddie sits patiently as his escort/girlfriend snorts lines of cocaine after their "date" as Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" plays on the radio in the background.

FLESH FACTOR: Tango celebrates gangster Caz's (Wesley Snipes) release from prison at a party in a neighborhood club full of topless strippers. Tango sets up his final sting operation hoping to ensnare Caz at a strip club, so there are lots of topless go-go dancers and pole dancers in the mix. Eddie witnesses his wayward love interest, um, doing business with someone else. There are a few more raunchy scenes worth mentioning, but unfortunately, they're plot spoilers.

BOTTOM LINE: It's easy to draw comparisons between Brooklyn's Finest and director Antoine Fuqua's previous cop drama, Training Day. What sets Finest apart is the way Fuqua seamlessly weaves the characters and their multiple story arcs together. Above all, Finest has in its arsenal an impressive list of actors that deliver amazing performances and help keep the tension level at its maximum throughout the entire film.

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11/20/2014

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