Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
I cherish this movie 'Freelancers'.  Not because it's a good movie… good heavens no… it's a holy hot mess… but as some of you out there may be aware of we have this show that only reviews straight to DVD or straight to VOD as it is now, and on a future episode, thanks to this movie… Robert De Niro is going to be on one of our shows.  Robert Freaking De Niro.  In our wildest dreams we never knew the day would come, the day that Robert DeNiro would fall to us.  Actually, we could kind of see it coming… but still.  Now I have full confidence that Will Smith, Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise will also, eventually, make an appearance on the show.  Thank you Curtis '50 Cent' Jackson and your innate ability to rope people into being in your suspect movies via a lethal combination of what I'm sure is your deft verbiage combined with fat un-bounceable checks.  You are my guy and I will one day also do a show dedicated to only your films to show my undying gratitude. 

Malo (Jackson), Lucas (Ryan O'Nan) and A.D. (Malcolm Goodwin) are bad boys who have gone good and done graduated the Police Academy.  Yay!  Dana Delaney shows up at their graduation party, being as how she and her husband helped these boys get into the academy, and I think Malo is sexing her up but I'm not sure.  And her husband is dead, even though Malo didn't know this though he probably should have.  I'm not liking his chances as a detective in the 'NYPD' since New Orleans is doubling as an extremely suspect stand-in for New York City.   Probably would've been easier just to set this movie in New Orleans.  Also at this party is Captain Sarcone (De Niro), a former partner of Malo's dead cop father and a man who claims to have been looking out for Malo since day one.  Even though this is the first day Malo is aware of this dudes existence.
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Sarcone breaks down the deal quickly and simply for Malo, that being that he has a team of dirty cops who take what they want when they want, they sell drugs, look out for the bad guys, kill indiscriminately and whatever else has to be done and wants to know if Malo wants to be down.  Hell yeah he does, so Sarcone partners Malo up with his right hand man Detective La Rue, with Forest Whitaker doing his best Alonzo Harris impersonation, as these two cops set about the business of not doing their jobs in fake New York City.

There's other stuff going on in the periphery behind Malo doing his dirty cop gig such as his fractured relationship with his old girlfriend, one of his boys being all crazy and stuff, and his other boy becoming racially self-aware with the help of his partner but most of that is just aimless filler while Malo sorts through the truth of what really happened to his father twenty years or so ago and how he's going to make it right.  By doing wrong.

'Freelancers', directed by Jesse Torrero who also helmed 'Soul Plane' a decade ago, which we won't hold against him, but more importantly he also was behind the camera for one Curtis Jackson's more recent VOD offerings 'Gun' which we actually liked here at the FCU.  'Gun' wasn't earth shattering in its cinematic excellence but it was lean, simple and relatively straight to the point.  Oh what we would've given if Jesse, Curtis and whomever got the credit for writing the screenplay has just stuck to that simple axiom with 'Freelancers'.  'Freelancers' was a discombobulated, ill conceived, erratically paced combination of wayward plot points, dangling characters and meandering storylines. 

Early in the movie we're introduced to a racist cop, but does it lead anywhere?  Not really, just a little aside to let us know that some cops in Fake New York City are racist I guess.  Did Malo's boy becoming racially aware add anything to a story which featured dirty cops shooting random chicks in the head for no reason?  We're all for racial awareness, but it didn't further this story in any way, shape or form.  And we're happy to see Dana Delaney working steady, and she is a lovely woman and all but her role in this movie, while at least relevant in someway, felt shoehorned into the whole exercise.

But while there's more peripheral nonsense we could harp on, even the core story suffered because Malo's character, and this is Curtis Jackson's movie despite the Oscar talent hanging around, was so ill defined.  His descent from hopeful Academy grad to insanely corrupt cop took all of eight seconds, then we get to watch a bunch of peripheral nonsense, followed by Malo's turn from corrupt to duplicitous genius mastermind which took about all of thirty seconds to come about, and I still don't know what his endgame is after watching all of that.

Watching Forest Whitaker overact and Robert Deniro under act was admittedly enjoyable since these two cats are so gifted they don't have to do too much to be watchable and this does spare 'Freelancers' from being just plain gawdawful, and since this is a Curtis Jackson movie you best bet your last bottom dollar that he's going wedge in an overly graphic sex scene for himself.  Not that I'm saying that's a good thing, just a casual observance. 

I could see the ambition working for 'Freelancers' but what this movie really needed was some trimming, a little focus and slight re-write and we might've gotten a halfway decent dirty cop picture instead of the hot mess they delivered to us on this day.
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