Black and Blue
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
A rookie female cop inadvertently captures the murder of a young drug dealer on her bodycam. After realising that the murder was committed by corrupt cops, she teams up with the one person from her community who is willing to help her as she tries to escape both the criminals out for revenge and the police who are desperate to destroy the incriminating footage.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
The police corruption storyline is one that we've all seen before, whether in LA Confidential or Training Day. There are some gems in the genre, and there are some terrible ones, as is the nature of a well-trodden storyline.
Black and Blue falls somewhere in between. It has some standout moments, and it gives the audience a black female lead who kicks ass while wearing blue, which is rare. But it also is lacking in some of its pacing and fails to deliver a knockout blow even though it had all the strength in its actor.
Let's start with the good, which can be summed up in one name: Naomie Harris, who plays Alicia West. From the outset of the film, Alicia is placed between a rock and a hard place. She is a black woman in New Orleans, born and raised in one of the poorest neighbourhoods, and she is a police officer who believes that the best way to help people is in service as law enforcement.
This sets the scene, and as we get to see a bit more about her history and how she fits into the community after leaving and coming back, she witnesses something that changes her life. From there, we get into a cat and mouse chase.
The chase reveals both some of the most thrilling moments of the movie and some of the most stagnant. I feel as though 30 minutes could have been edited out to make a tighter, more thrilling ride. I know that the script has been widely criticised, but I have to say that I enjoyed the dialogue between Naomie and Tyrese's characters; they ask themselves a lot of questions that people who feel let down by the very people who are meant to protect them can relate to.
I can understand that some of the subplots are a little bit weak, but the reality is that those events happen every day, I also think that sometimes movies with any female lead are harshly criticised merely for the fact of existing. Let alone with a black female lead, which is so rare and also so rarely praised when they do manage to make it to the screen.
Is this a movie I think you should pay money to see at the cinema? It depends, if you love cop movies and want to see a nice (but not excellent) riff on the genre, then this is for you. However, if you want something that keeps you excited throughout, then maybe not. In other words, go see this movie if you want some action with a little bit of thinking.
One thing I will say and the note I want to end off on is that Naomie Harris should be your first choice next time someone wants to remake a cool cop movie. I would love to see her as Felix in Hollywood Cop, the role made famous by Eddie Murphy, because she has it all. The moves, the humour, the acting chops. Give this woman a movie that she can really sink her teeth into.