Black and Blue: Topical Premise Buried Under Generic Action

2 out of 5 stars (has some good moments, but is overall bad)

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Black and Blue is a frustrating kind of bad movie.  It hints at exploring a hot-button topic (police brutality and corruption), but uses that topic as an excuse for repetitive chases and shoot-outs that seal its fate in Redbox machines everywhere.  Black and Blue has decent acting and passable production values, but its mishandling of a complex subject matter leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Army vet Alicia West (a solid Naomie Harris) has been a cop for 3 weeks.  Outside of her partner Kevin (Reid Scott), the other officers look down upon her optimism, and the low-income inhabitants of the surrounding area only see an untrustworthy police uniform.  When Alicia’s bodycam catches 3 officers (Frank Grillo, Beau Knapp, and James Moses Black) shooting unarmed men, she sets out to upload the footage at the police station.  Now pursued by seemingly every cop in New Orleans, Alicia turns to streetwise friend Mouse (Tyrese Gibson) for help, uncovering a greater conspiracy along the way.

Black and Blue is a generic thriller with hilariously inept villains and a tension-shattering soundtrack.  Naomie Harris proves herself ready for more leading roles, but the script is loaded with contradictions, illogical character choices, and bland action that buries any potential commentary and exits your memory once the credits roll.  Black and Blue fails as both a fun action movie and a thoughtful drama, muddying up a complex societal problem instead of exploring it.  I pray Naomie Harris gets better material in the future and that movies like this be forgotten by all but the Redbox machine.  Skip Black and Blue.

Rated R for Violence and Language

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