No matter where you look, there seems to be a rise of social issue films being released every month that make sure everyone is aware of how “the struggle is real”. One of the latest is Black and Blue starring Naomie Harris and Tyrese Gibson. I’ll admit I enjoyed this one despite its preaching and other small flaws, but some may not care for its wafer-thin plot, its stereotypes, or be able to overlook its small but numerous faults.
The story follows the life of New Orleans rookie cop Alicia West (Naomie Harris) who is doing pretty good for herself despite being looked down on for being a native working for the police in the very neighborhood she struggled in. One day she fills in for an extra shift for her partner as he needs time off for family, which sees her paired up with officer Deacon Brown (James Moses Black), and it’s not long before he saves her life after they get called in to stop an altercation Alicia tries to talk her way out of but almost gets shot instead.
They soon get a call to respond to another altercation at an abandoned building, but Brown tells West to stay in the car. When she hears gunshots, Alicia runs up to find out what’s happening only to see Brown and some other cops led by Narcotics Detective Terry Malone (Frank Grillo) shoot and kill some unarmed black teens. Noticing she has a bodycam on, the other cops shoot her and she falls off a balcony and think she’s dead. They couldn’t be further from the truth as her vest took most of the damage and she goes on the run to upload the video to the proper authorities. With the help of an old friend from the streets named Milo “Mouse” Jackson (Tyrese Gibson), the two will find out they can only trust each other as the cops and their own neighborhood is looking to take them down.
Despite the predictable plot and stereotypical ghetto tropes, I had a good time watching this one. Besides those things, the main problem I had with the movie is that sometimes it can’t decide if it wants to be a rated R film or a PG-13 one as there’s numerous times where the action and the profanity is intense, only to have it tone back significantly in other parts. It feels as though they edited parts of the movie for a broadcast television release but gave up on it halfway through, making for a slightly jarring experience.
At least the movie looks and sounds good on Blu-ray, and the special features are short but to the point. “Line of Fire” has director Deon Taylor with some of the cast and crew going over the use of bodycams and how it comes into play here, “Be the Change in the Big Easy” features some of the cast and crew discussing how New Orleans plays a big role in the movie and how it’s like a character in itself. Lastly there’s some deleted scenes that don’t really add or take away from the film, but they’re worth a look if you enjoyed the movie.
Black and Blue is a pretty good action-thriller despite its many issues such as a cliched plot and characters, to the weird and jarring editing of the violence and other scenes. If you can look past these and you’re in the mood for some cat and mouse action, you could easily do worse than this one.