Irish viewers will notice that when the men in this film experience an emotional crisis, they’re constantly reaching for the Jameson. It’s the kind of throwback gesture we haven’t seen with quite this much frequency in years. Was it intentional?
“I don’t remember Jameson being product placement,” director Hughes sniffs, bristling at the impertinence.
“When I read the script I thought a 51-year-old white man wrote it, but then I discovered it was a 24-year-old black kid at Julliard. When I first read it he had all these exotic scotches that the mayor was drinking.”
No takers on the whiskey as a stand in for your emotions, then. Like the guys in their film, these guys can take themselves a bit seriously, which is why the film they have made can feel a bit dated.
It’s not that we don’t respect tough guys anymore. It’s just that we have started to wonder how tough they really are if they can’t take a joke or express themselves without a drink to start it.
It would help if the women in the film were given a chance to be anything other than ornamental doormats. As the mayor’s wife Catherine Zeta Jones is cast -- there is not other way to say this -- as an utterly gorgeous piece of high-class arm candy.
The truth is her character isn’t given much more to do in the film than act as a Chanel-suited decoy for what’s really happening, which is an epic waste of her considerable talent as an actress.
Interestingly, Wahlberg admits that women watching the film have often guessed who is really fooling who much sooner than most men. It’s the kind of intuitive ability in real life that’s missing from the female characters on screen.
“Women have intuitively felt that something was going on with the mayoral candidate and his campaign manager, but women are smarter than men,” he says matter-of-factly, almost revealing a crucial plot point.
It can’t save the film from that “haven’t I met you somewhere before” feeling that haunts almost every scene.
The truth is that having superhero martial arts skills, and the ability to dodge bullets shot at point blank range, while still somehow managing to get the girl in the final frame is getting more than a little tired.
In the end Broken City feels as dated as Humphrey Bogart’s black Chrysler Imperial.
Watch the trailer here: