Pride and Glory

This week has a movie for everyone. The horror movie fans can enjoy Saw V. The tween market can squeal over Zac Efron in High School Musical 3. And the movie Pride and Glory has been released for people who like terrible, terrible movies.

And this is a shame because Pride and Glory has such a great pedigree. You have Edward Norton, Colin Farrell and Jon Voight acting their hearts out. You have Gavin O’Connor, who gave us the inspirational hockey classic Miracle, at the helm. You’ve got O’Connor writing the script with Narc auteur Joe Carnahan.

Still, with all this talent, these folks managed to make a movie that is about as appealing as two-week-old mayonnaise slathered on a cow patty.

The movie tells the story of a family of Irish cops in New York City. It opens with them gathering together for a inter-department football game. However, the shine of winning the game is dulled with the report of a drug deal gone wrong, resulting in the death of four cops. Roy Tierney (Norton) has been off active duty as a detective, and his father Frank (Voight) compels him to return in full force to find the killers.

However, the problem that Roy faces isn’t that it’s impossible to find the killers. It’s that he soon uncovers corruption in the ranks of the NYPD, with all the fingers pointing at his brother-in-law Jimmy (Farrell).

The biggest road block this film had was its own desire to make an awesomely gritty cop film. The filmmakers went too far with this style and look, beginning with the opening sequence that is so jittery and jarring that it makes Homicide: Life on the Streets look like an episode of Blue’s Clues. Then the film delves into attempt after attempt to be the hardest hardcore cop movie ever made. Still, I’ve already seen everything this film before, but it’s usually done better in other movies and on television.

It gets to be too much too fast. The film is relentless with its gritty portrayal of the NYPD… so much so that it drowns in cliches, moronic characters, chaotic camera movements and utter silliness. There are so many over-the-top moments – from Jimmy and his gang torturing a man by literally shoving a baseball bat down his throat to a scene in which they threaten to iron a suspect’s baby – that it is utterly distasteful.

I never thought I’d say this, but on the weekend featuring the latest Saw movie, it’s the wannabe-gritty cop film that wins the prize for being too needlessly violent.

Pride and Glory is the subject of much controversy at New Line Studios. Gavin O’Connor is set to blame a shuffling release date on the movie’s inevitable failure, and Norton is ready to blame industry “paralysis” over movies that negatively portray cops (which is ludicrous because movies about dirty cops are all over the place… and one even won the Oscar two years ago). However, both O’Connor and Norton seem to forget that no matter how well a pile of crap is marketed, it’s still just a pile of crap.

The Upside: It’s got a beat, and you can dance to it.

The Downside: Tried too hard to be the grittiest frickin’ cop movie ever.

On the Side: Gavin O’Connor has said about this film, “My father was a New York City detective, and I grew up in that world. It’s a celebration of honest cops, which was everything my father was about. Though it is fictional, it is an homage to my father.” Hmmmm… he must hate his father if this is how he pays homage to him.

Grade: D


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