Allen Hughes’ “Broken City” has the bones and perhaps even the DNA of a better, darker and more interesting film.
Its tale of marital discord and political in-fighting, as well as corruption and malfeasance, could have been constructed as one of those painfully compelling tales of a good man dealing with rotten doings in his own little world – and the worry of having that rot rub off on the cleaner.
But director Allen Hughes (working on his own, without twin brother Albert for the first time) and writer Brian Tucker can’t dig far enough to get at anything really gripping or moving here. Instead, this winds up as the same story of one man seeking redemption in a world that has little or no forgiveness.
That man is Billy Taggart, played with blunt force by Mark Wahlberg. Seven years earlier, he was dismissed from the NYPD for shooting a rapist-killer in a questionable takedown. Now he’s a private eye, forced to hound his clients for payment. He’s behind in paying his canny assistant Katie (Alona Tal) and living a skimpy life with his actress wife Natalie (Natalie Martinez).
Then he gets a call from New York Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe), who handled Taggart’s firing and who hires him to do a job. A week before a very close election, the mayor is convinced that his wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is having an affair. He wants to find out who the man is before his opponent can get a hold of and use the information.
This review continues on my website.