Black and Blue is your standard-issue police thriller with a couple of cool gimmicks. It ‘s not as good as let’s say 21 Bridges but it will do just fine. We will be following a rookie cop Alicia who’s seen something she shouldn’t have and now must run. And I mean literally, just run. This reminded me of David Ayer’s masterpiece End of Watch along with the use of bodycam footage. And the Ayer tribute doesn’t end there as one of the scenes towards the end matches its Training Day counterpart to a tee. However, this is more of a classical thriller than anything else.
The production values are good and the cinematography has that sleek vibe to it. Black and Blue briefly goes over the topics like racism and corruption, never fully diving in. It’s clear that this action thriller is built for suspense and entertainment. It’s perfect for those nights when you don’t know what to watch and want something mildly engaging. Although some of the scenes were quite intense.
I also must commend the authentic New Orleans setting often used in similar movies. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, 12 Rounds and Hard Target just to name a few. This really feels like a place where a cop wouldn’t be welcome. And lack of opportunities combined with increased gang activity completes the picture. Although I think that the “gang connections” contributed greatly to the story.
After serving her country in the Army, Alicia West returns to her hometown to work as a police officer. She will quickly learn that her military training is not going to help her on the streets. At least for now. However, when she accidentally films a couple of detectives doing something illegal, that training will be the only thing keeping her alive. On the run and with no one to help her, she will have to find a way to not only stay alive but also report the corruption inside the police department.
As you can see, Black and Blue has a familiar story and characters. Story and characters that also feel very generic. However, this is where the performances save the day. Naomie Harris was excellent as Alicia and veterans Gibson and Grillo added enough street cred to make this movie work. It was nice and refreshing to see a movie where most of the characters are black. And some of them are cops too.
Finally, if you’re looking for more modern and new Police Movies, I highly recommend you turn to European production. Movies like The Stronghold, Enforcement, and Rogue City offer authentic stories and superb production values. And Enforcement also features this “behind enemy lines” dynamic with two cops stranded in a rough neighborhood. Dare I say Trespass vibes.
Director: Deon Taylor
Writer: Peter A. Dowling
Cast: Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo, Mike Colter, Reid Scott, Beau Knapp, Nafessa Williams
Fun Facts: The shoulder patch on their police uniforms is not the same as New Orleans PD’s shoulder patch.