Director Antoine Fuqua ("Shooter") attempts to make a silk purse out of three sows' ears with "Brooklyn's Finest," an overly long look at the final days of three Brooklyn cops.
One is Eddie (Richard Gere, "Nights in Rodanthe"), set to retire in seven days. When was the last time you saw that plot device used?
Two is Tango (Don Cheadle, "Traitor"), who has been working undercover and is now being told to send his best friend, Caz (Wesley Snipes, "Blade: Trinity"), to prison.
Third is Sal (Ethan Hawke, "Daybreakers") a staunch Catholic. In order to take in some extra cash to give his family the life he thinks they deserve, he sets up and kills drug dealers, stealing their dough in the process.
The picture follows them as they head toward a rendezvous with fate. Three of the four leads will end up shot all to hell, while the fourth redeems a wasted life and career by rescuing three kidnapped young women from a pair of pimps forcing them into white slavery. Nothing melodramatic there.
Michael C. Martin's script is rife with the language of the streets " everything is "mofo" this and "mofo" that, until it's no wonder that morons like Bill O'Reilly think "mofoin'" is the only adjective ever used by criminals and their pursuers.
Among the leads, Hawke comes off best. There is a true desperation in Sal. He opens the film by sitting in a parked car with a lowlife, the two of them kidding around like old buddies. Suddenly, a gun fires and we see that Sal has blown a hole in the guy. The cop grabs a bag filled with cash and slides away into the darkness. He's become a stone-cold killer of "bad guys" because his family has needs he believes can only be satisfied by money.
His wife, Angela (Lili Taylor, "Public Enemies"), is slowly dying from the mold in the walls. This is not the life he signed on for. He confesses to his priest that he doesn't want God's forgiveness " he wants God's help.
Sal falls apart before our eyes as a real estate agent keeps on pressuring him to come up with deposit money or he will lose the house he wants to buy. He needs to be sent on drug raids so he can stuff some loose bills into his pockets. Hawke does a good job in showing us a man who is doomed to failure, taking his family down with him, and knows it.
There isn't a bad performance in the film, with Will Patton ("The Fourth Kind"), Brian F. O'Byrne ("Before the Devil Knows You're Dead"), Shannon Kane (TV's "All My Children") and Ellen Barkin ("Ocean's Thirteen") in support.
Its major flaws come from the clich