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Brooklyn Rules
DVD disk
10.05.2007 By: Jason Adams
Brooklyn Rules order
Director:
Michael Corrente

Actors:
Freddie Prinze Jr.
Scott Caan
Alec Baldwin

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
As three childhood friends reach adulthood in the 1980s, one of them gets involved with the local mob, creating complications that will change their lives forever.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
BROOKLYN RULES might as well be called GENERIC MOB MOVIE. It’s a hodgepodge of mafia movie stereotypes mixed with a standard coming-of-age drama. It boasts of being “From the writer of The Sopranos,” but the outcome is an exceedingly average film that doesn’t aspire to anything significant.

For one, nothing interesting happens plotwise until nearly an hour in. Up to that point it’s mostly just a group of guys hanging out and reciting some bad dialogue about loyalty and friendship, as well as the occasional Kevin Smith-like observation about 80s life. (There’s so many glaring cultural references to the decade—BACK TO THE FUTURE, cabbage patch dolls, CDs vs cassettes—I almost expected a Michael Jackson impersonator to come in and start dancing on lighted sidewalks.). Writer Terrence Winters also relies on lazy narration to lay out the plot and characterization. The big climax of the movie is so telegraphed I thought maybe they were setting us up for a twist. But no, they settle for predictability.

There are a couple enjoyable moments and surprises sprinkled throughout (I liked how they blended in real mobsters and news footage) but overall I can’t think of one element that hasn’t been done before. The three main friends have good chemistry together, with Freddie Prinze Jr. doing his best “Ray Liotta from GOODFELLAS” impression and Scott Caan ironically channeling his dad as Sonny Corleone. Prinze Jr. is surprisingly not terrible in the main role, although his romantic subplot with Mena Suvari is painful due to horrifying chemistry between the two.

Probably the main reason anybody would even give BROOKLYN RULES a shot is Alec Baldwin’s mug plastered on the DVD cover. Baldwin is entertaining in full-on in tough guy mode, but he’s in the movie for about five minutes. Although one of those minutes features him going RESERVOIR DOGS on some guy’s ear with a deli slicer, which I can appreciate.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary by writer Terrence Winter and director Michael Corrente: Turns out the film is based on Winter’s personal experiences growing up, so he has plenty to talk about throughout. The dialogue between the two isn’t too lively though and I got bored pretty fast.

Cast Interviews (6:05): Each member of the cast (and writer Winter) gets a minute to tell you what they make of BROOKLYN RULES.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Seen a mafia movie before? What about a coming-of-age drama? Now combine the two and tell me what you get. That’s right, A BRONX TALE. And BROOKLYN RULES is essentially a not-as-good version of A BRONX TALE.

Extra Tidbit: If I ever have a movie made based on my life, I hope Freddie Prinze Jr. doesn’t play me. (Hopefully Kurt Russell is still alive by then. Or Fred Savage.)
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