“Murder is murder.” Black And Blue (DVD Review)

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New Orleans rookie cop Alicia West (Naomie Harris) witnesses a murder carried out by her own colleagues. She finds herself a target thanks to the body cam footage she captured.

It becomes clear that corrupt officers led Terry Malone (Frank Grillo) are working their own drug empire in the run-down district they serve in. West is the only one who can bring them down.

Finding it hard to trust even her own officers, West is helped by local store owner Milo Jackson (Tyrese Gibson) to get the evidence into the right hands before the bent police can stop them…

In a world even more divided by race and status, director Deon Taylor tackles a different side to the struggle by having both factors clash when lines become blurred about who to trust. With police operating with body cameras that capture everything officers want – or don’t want – this is the crux of this action thriller.

While the cop / thriller genre is a tired one, if handled well it still can be entertaining with a good cast leading an exciting and sometimes powerful story. Thankfully, here, Taylor has a solid cast around him in the likes of Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson and Frank Grillo. The run time clocks in at just over the 1hr 40 mark, and the pace doesn’t let-up from the start.

Using the subject of race and police abusing their power will make for interesting watching, especially in these turbulent times. The subject is rife from the off, with Harris stuck between race wars between her district and fellow colleagues abusing their power. Stuck in the middle, she is trying to do a good honest job and enforce what is good about the badge.

Based on footage captured on a body cam fixed to West’s vest, she captures corrupt officers gunning down a drug dealer so they can make their own empire and bring an already fragile district to its knees. So in not knowing who to turn to or who to trust, a simple job of getting back to the police station is laced with tight car chases, loud shoot-outs and some well-played cat-and-mouse games. It’s well staged when Harris is constantly on the run from both corrupt colleagues and mercenaries tasked to take her down.

Harris is capable here of leading a good action role, thanks to her exposure in the new era of James Bond films. With Tyrese Gibson on hand as the good-hearted store owner helping her evade those who bring down the society he cares for, they make an entertaining and believable team up against the odds. They can handle their own with guns, cars and strong words, as well as their brains.

While the plot isn’t new, it’s simple and entertaining stuff; well shot, well-acted and firmly directed in dealing with strong, refreshing themes laced in a darker take on the genre with a good amount of faith and humanity behind it, all leading to a surprisingly tense and well executed finale.

Dir: Deon Taylor

Scr: Peter A. Dowling

Cast: Naomie Harris, Tyrese Gibson, Frank Grillo, Mike Colter, Reid Scott, Beau Knapp

Prd: Sean Sorensen

DOP: Dante Spinotti

Music: Geoff Zanelli

Country: United States

Year: 2019

Run time: 107 minutes

Black and Blue is out to Download and Keep now and available to buy on DVD on March 2

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