Broken City (Blu-ray)

May 8, 2013 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

A decade ago, two of my least favorite actors were Mark Wahlberg and Russell Crowe.  Why, you ask?  I don’t know, really.  I guess I got the image that they were kind of jerks in real life, so therefore I really didn’t seem to care for their films.  Yes, I watched them but I was kind of like “Oh, Russell Crowe, he’s an ass.”  Granted, as time has gone by, both have somewhat chilled out a bit and their careers have showed the longevity that shows that they’re doing something right.  So call it an epiphany if you will, but I now classify these two as a couple of my favorite performers.  However with Broken City, these two are thrust together (for the first time?) and this was a movie that came out early in the year, so you know what that means…but with director Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, The Book of Eli and From Hell) present, this might be a film that would break the mold and might make it worth a look.  Was it?

New York Cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) has been framed and then double crossed by the higher ups in the city.  Namely Mayor Hostetler (Russell Crowe), a man who’s comfortable with his power and isn’t afraid to use, or abuse, it.  Seven years pass and Taggart is no longer a cop, but a Private Investigator trying to collect on debts from his clients.  When Hostetler comes calling and dangles a $50,000 paycheck in Taggart’s face, he’s got no choice but to accept the job.  It would seem that the Mayor feels that his his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is having an affair and Hostetler needs proof.  Add to the fact that the election against newcomer Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper) is neck and neck and it’s a fragile situation.  As Taggart starts to dig, he quickly learns that the Mayor’s wife is having an affair and to add insult to injury, it’s with Paul Andrews (Kyle Chandler), the Campaign Manager for Valliant!  Suffice it to say, things get complicated and Taggart now finds himself smack dab in the middle of a difficult situation.

There’s nothing really new or exciting in Broken City and the high profile cast does their best to carry what’s at best, an average script. As I mentioned above, I’m a fan of Crowe and Wahlberg and the supporting players do a fine job here as well.  There are a few sub plots that somewhat slow the movie down, such as Taggart’s relationship with his girlfriend and her impending career as an actress and Taggart’s drinking problem.  Crowe lays on his flat, New York accent with all he’s got though his goofy haircut seems to remind me of the character he played in A Beautiful Mind as opposed to a hard-nosed Mayor of New York.  Having said all of that, Broken City isn’t a bad movie, not by any means – it’s just nothing too original.  But the star power is there and I’m a fan of Allen Hughes’ films.  If you’re into films about greed, power and corruption (and, politics of course) then this might be right up your alley.

Video: How does it look?

It’s amazing, but just looking at the cover of the  Blu-ray, you can somewhat get a feel for how the movie might look.  And, yep, sure enough the 2.40:1 AVC HD image is dark, gritty and looks just about as I thought it would.  Being a new to Blu-ray release, we can expect that the colors will look good, the detail amazing and just about everything in between will look good as well.  It all does.  Don’t get me wrong, actors Russell Crowe, Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Barry Pepper are all an attractive group, but this transfer shows lines in their faces where they didn’t have them before. Jowls on Zeta-Jones and Barry Pepper’s face, we see some grey hairs in Crowe’s character’s hair and Wahlberg’s forehead creases aren’t getting any less pronounced.  A fine layer of grain is present too, but it works well with the film.  A nice looking transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

This isn’t the type of movie that would pack that much of a punch on the audio front, but there are a few scenes when the DTS HD Master Audio really takes control.  There’s a car chase, a few bullets fired but the majority of the film is dialogue driven and has a very low key tone to it.  The front stage shoulders the burden of the soundtrack, while the surrounds do their part to keep up the ambiance in the back.  The LFE chime in a few times as well, but by and large this mix isn’t anything that’s memorable, but it’s good and solid.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Aside from Fox’s usual DVD and Digital Copy, we get a theatrical trailer, half a dozen deleted scenes and a very encompassing documentary (in several parts) “Bringing it All Together” which tells of the script’s unusual trip to screen and pretty much everything you’d want to know about the film.

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