Cast: Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo, Mike Colter
Director: Deon Taylor
Well Deon Taylor, we meet again. After two seemingly poor projects in Traffik and The Intruder, he’s been given an even larger opportunity to showcase his talents in Black and Blue. Taylor really is proof that in Hollywood sometimes you fail upwards and are given countless opportunities to do whatever you want. With all of his failures behind him, this is an opportunity for him to present himself to new audiences and show that he has a real future in the mainstream. So, does he make the most of his time here? Not really. It’s a step up for Taylor, but Black and Blue is a typical October throwaway movie that most will forget about shortly after seeing it.
The film follows Alicia West (Harris), an army veteran who now works as a police officer in New Orleans. When she is on duty and witnesses one of her own officers killing an unarmed drug dealer, she must survive long enough to present her evidence to the proper authorities without getting killed by her fellow officers or the local gangs that believe she’s behind the killing. From the jump you know almost exactly how this movie is going to go. The villains will be flat, the protagonists will be one-dimensional, and there won’t be all that many twists and turns along the way. This is a very classic money dump movie with a couple of famous names attached to it and move along just like intended. When you have Tyrese Gibson playing one of your movie’s more complex characters, I’m not exactly expecting an Oscar contender. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bad actor, but I wouldn’t exactly consider him the most prolific actor of the generation. With all this in mind, this is almost a good movie. When you get past the predictability and the feeling that you know what will happen, there are a few moments that stand out and show the potential to do more with this movie. Whether this is the interaction between the gangs, the police, and Alicia, the action scenes, or the overall themes themselves, there’s a deeper message in this movie just dying to break out. I don’t know if studio interference or lack of talent is the reason we don’t get a final product worth remembering, but whatever the cause was it hampered what could have been an interesting and captivating movie. This is the strongest script that Taylor has worked with and it shows he has the talent to make something serviceable when given the opportunity to do so. Hopefully this continues in future projects, but for the time being Black and Blue is a serviceable, entertaining movie that has a few high points over the course of 108 minutes. I was expecting a complete dud based who was involved in it and the general idea behind it, but for a B-list October release, it’s not the end of the world and has enough solid moments to balance out the mediocrity and rise it to something that is somewhat enjoyable.
Overall, I consider this to be an olive branch for Taylor after grilling his last two movies, but it’s not exactly a movie anyone will go out of their way to see. Taylor’s movies have specific audiences and while I’m not a member of that group, those who liked his last two movies will certainly like this one. This could’ve been a lot worse than what we ended up with, so from that angle I’m glad we got something serviceable and almost good out of Black and Blue.
Overall Score: 5.5/10