Mark Wahlberg has a rare (and marketable) quality: He remains likable even when his films are not. It’s thus the case that Broken City, despite being a wholly by-the-numbers yarn of political corruption and the one man who can get his hands dirty enough to get the job done (but not so dirty that he becomes part of the problem he's fighting), is somewhat passable in spite of its familiarity. The municipal-thriller aspects of Broken City are not unlike the machinations of George Clooney's The Ides of March in microcosm: Where Clooney's film concerns a campaign worker squelching a potential scandal on the eve of a presidential election, Allen Hughes' is about a cop-turned-private investigator (Wahlberg) who gets in over his head with the obviously corrupt mayor of New York City (Russell Crowe), who is facing an election of his own. Wahlberg and Crowe spend a lot of time butting heads and not so subtly hiding their competing agendas from one another. Wahlberg, despite his best efforts, is occasionally on tough-guy autopilot here. The fact that the plotting is so similar to that of the equally generic Shooter—in which Wahlberg is likewise entrusted with a hush-hush job and then set up to take the fall for its lethal consequences—further compounds this problem. Tonal inconsistency (not to mention a few aimless subplots) threatens to derail things early on, but once it's cleared its throat and figured out what it's trying to say, Broken City settles into its role as a serviceable popcorn movie.
- Running Time:
- Release Date: Tuesday, January 15, 2013
- MPAA Rating: R
- Critic's Score: C+
- Watch the trailer