Nestled between the Halloween horror season and the end-of-the-year awards season comes “Black and Blue”, an OK cop movie that believes it has something to say about race relations.
It doesn’t actually have much to say about race relations, but it definitely believes in itself. And “Black and Blue” definitely succeeds as a mildly entertaining, generally tense movie about law enforcement. It’s got action, it’s got heroism and is generally good enough on every level.
Black police officer Alicia West is only three weeks on the job in New Orleans when she witnesses several higher ranking officers murder a couple drug dealers. West captures the execution, and other evidence of corruption, on her body camera and takes off running, pursued by an entire precinct’s worth of corrupt police officers.
To complicate matters, because she is a police officer, West is turned away by all of the black residents in the nearby neighborhoods.
The problem for West is that she’s also black, and grew up in these neighborhoods, so she doesn’t fully understand why she’s being turned away. Through this subplot, the movie at least brushes against questions of skin color and law enforcement, but this isn’t a deep enough movie to truly commit.
This is an action movie about a cop on the run. This is not a movie examining the complex relationship between police officers and civilians in New Orleans, and the black officers caught in the middle. The movie really only uses that angle to flavor it’s action beats.
Judged purely as just an action movie, “Black and Blue” is fine. Naomi Harris is compelling as West, and a who’s who of character actors fill out the rest of the supporting roles to a good enough degree. But a lot of the twists are predictable, if you can call them twists. And a lot of the script is blunt and underwritten.
It’s not a clever movie, but it gets the job done.
“Black and Blue” is probably going to arrive and disappear in theaters like a ghost, so maybe it is perfect for Halloween.