Broken City

27 Jan


Synopsis: “In a city rife with injustice, ex-cop Billy Taggart seeks redemption and revenge after being double-crossed and then framed by its most powerful figure: Mayor Nicholas Hostetler.” (Rated R; 1 hour 49 minutes)

Am I the only person in the world to have watched the  recently canceled Starz network show Boss, starring Kelsey Grammer? I think it’s a safe bet since I was sad to see it go due to low ratings (and good reviews), but I kept thinking of the show during this better-than-you expect thriller. (I say better-than-you’d expect because it’s released in January’s dumping-grounds, where movies generally get put when the studios lose faith that they’ll be received with any critical respect.)

In Boss, Kelsey Grammer plays a super corrupt and powerful mayor of Chicago, and one of the main things he’s trying to build is this huge housing development which would improve the city; but many objections come forward about it screwing the poor population that lives there, and it being about profit and self-gain for the mayor. Umm, read what I just wrote except insert the name Russell Crowe instead of Kelsey Grammer, and New York City instead of Chicago, otherwise…identical!

And here’s the extra kicker that I won’t get into since it WOULD be a spoiler: There’s a whole important plot development and twist which happens in the movie that is ALSO exactly the same as in the show! In Boss there are people campaigning and running for senator and something major happens with one of the camps both personally and professionally; literally the exact same thing happens here with the characters who are campaigning and running against the incumbent mayor. It was uncanny, and clearly it appears one has ripped off the other!

And no, they didn’t do it better in 2 hours than Boss managed to do in 2 short seasons. It was somewhat predictable, it was not original in any real way, and the acting was all…fine. But in spite of that, it was all done solidly enough that it should interest most viewers, and Mark Wahlberg was an interesting protagonist, far more complex and flawed than you expect your “hero” to be in a movie like this.

As with Parker, it also suffered from a side-plot with a girl which didn’t really go anywhere, but here it was less in the way of the story and took up less space too, and at least I could see that they were trying to help develop his character in doing so.

There was an interesting mayoral debate in the movie at one point, which Josh Baron pointed out was surprisingly well done. It suffered from one of the most annoying complaints I have about movies: The previews gave away too much of the plot. I hate seeing movies and realizing halfway through that the plot hasn’t turned yet and you know what WILL happen since you saw it 3 times in the preview! But the overall tone of the movie was good, and it was well paced and intriguing, even if predictable, and overall unoriginal.

The movie was better than My Fellow Americans, a dumb comedy about politicians from years ago, but wasn’t as good as The Ides of March, a political and twisty drama which I think had more originality than this one.

Quality Rating: C (If I hadn’t seen Boss I may rate it a notch higher, but that affects my judgment of it too darn much)

Boaz Rating: B-


2 Responses to “Broken City”

  1. movierob April 21, 2013 at 2:17 am #

    Just watched this one today. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I stopped watching Boss half way thru the 1st season, was too over-the-top for me. Maybe they should have had Kelsey play the mayor here and then it woulda elevated the movie since I didn’t like Crowe as the corrupt mayor; he seemed too bland.

    I have always been a fan of Barry Pepper since Saving Private Ryan and 61* (excellent Billy Crystalk directed Baseball movie, but have trouble believing him as a councilman running for mayor.

    Kyle Chandler is always amazing in everything he does!!

    I would give it a higher than C rating.

    My Fellow Americans was a great idea, but they just didn’t know how to take it to the next level. Ides of March was great but that wasn’t due solely to the plot, but due to the excellent dialogue.

    This movie has the story done well in the plot, but not the dialogue


    • boazconstrictor April 21, 2013 at 9:26 am #

      Oh yeah, *61 was a great movie (made for HBO I believe). You should see my review on the movie “Snitch” where I talk about Barry Pepper in a funny way.
      HILARIOUS you thought I was too harsh in my review. I was kinder than just about every critic on earth, and I was mocked by the people I saw it with for being much too kind about it, and a few others who read the review. Guess you may actually be an even kinder critic than I am, which is amazing considering how many bad movies I love. 🙂
      And yes, Kelsey Grammer was amazing in “Boss”, I’m upset they canceled it, it was over-the-top but the acting was so compelling I really got into it about halfway through the first season. But the amount this movie mimicked the second season, it seriously makes me question why it wasn’t talked about more in the press, seems like intellectual theft.


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