HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Starring: Robert DeNiro, Forest Whitaker, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson
Directed by: Jesse Terrero
Written by: L. Philippe Casseus
Runtime: 96 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: August 21st, 2012
HTS Overall Score:69
Freelancers first peaked my interest when I heard that Robert DeNiro and Forest Whitaker (two of my favorite actors) were involved. My eagerness was tempered though when I realized that Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson was attached to the project as well. While I have nothing against rappers crossing over into the acting field, many of them such as Ludacris, Tyrese DMX have been pretty solid to decent at the very least, 50 Cent has let me down with his acting skills lately. He tends to give off that “thug” vibe that lends itself to creating a very unlikeable “hero” as well as his poor line delivery. Robert DeNiro hasn’t been at his peak lately, but he is very rarely BAD in his roles and Forest Whitaker can really do no wrong in my opinion.
“Freelancers” beings with three young juvenile delinquents being sentenced for some unknown misdemeanor, we immediately cut to a much later time when those three delinquents are now being welcomed into the ranks as junior police officer recruits. At this party there are two uninvited guests, the wife of the officer who gave them the chance to be officers and the partner of Malo’s (50 Cent) dead police officer father named Joe Sarcone (DeNiro). Joe Sarcone decides to give Malo a ride down to a local police hangout where only “special” cops get to play. Seems that Sarcone is a dirty cop, he runs the drug dealing and keeps all the local gangs under his thumb in order to keep some sort of “order” to the chaos down in New York City. Sarcone offers Malo the opportunity to work for him, to get more than his cop’s salary and to deliver some “justice” to the creeps who get off in the system. Malo agrees, but finds out he’s in for more than he’s bargained for. His training officer LaRue (Forest Whitaker) is a cocaine snorting, hooker pawing, low life of a cop who will stop at nothing to enforce Sarcone’s will. Instead of administering justice Malo finds out that Sarcone is actually RUNNING the drug trade with Bayaz, a Columbian drug lord sneaking all sorts of dope into the U.S. through his dirty cops. Malo has to make a decision. Is he going to follow Sarcone into the darkness, go into the darkness on his own will, or do something better with his life.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9160[/img]The premise behind “Freelancers” is pretty simple. Kid becomes a cop only to find out that he’s in over his head with corruption, decides whether or not to fight the corruption or to join up. Fairly run of the mill and sets up for an entertaining hour and a half. However the limited storyline is hampered by poor script writing. Robert DeNiro is solid as Joe Sarcone, he’s tough, brutal and a hard liner reminiscent of his “Heat days”. It’s pretty obvious DeNiro took this job just for a paycheck. He’s not wildly invested but as someone who respects the craft you can tell that he gives it a good shot. Whitaker is great as the druggie cop LaRue, chewing up the scenery and letting loose with his stereotypical ‘tough guy” bravado that only he can pull off without looking cheesy. 50 Cent is a downer though, he fluctuates from delivering a solid performance in one scene to mumbling his lines while staring blankly ahead of himself in others. None of this is helped by the pedestrian script though. The Situation were clichéd and everything flowed way to “easily” if you know what I mean. Malo accepted Sarcone’s offer to become an off the books cop without blinking an eye, his buddies follow him in and blindly accept whatever Malo tells them to as well. Even Sarcone, when Malo is betraying him just accepts this without question. Everything that happened was just…too…easy, too much simplistic scripting to be believable in my option, and pretty obvious that we are dealing with a junior script writer.
There were some great cameos though. An underutilized Vinnie Jones pops in for a quick, but enjoyable moment as drug messenger and the best cameo of all was a bright spot in this center of mediocrity, Andre Roya, as Malo’s father in a series of flashbacks. Overall the story wasn’t bad and the inclusion of DeNiro and Whitaker was a definite plus, unfortunately the lackluster script writing kept it from being at least an enjoyable romp. Instead I have to say that this is another of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s failures at becoming known as a “serious actor”
Rated R for strong sexual content, nudity, drug use, violence and pervasive language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9159[/img]Lionsgate again gives us a very solid video presentation. Detail is excellent with facial shots being extremely well done. Clarity is great with only minimal compression artifacts. The one complaint that I had is more a complaint against modern directors. We are regaled with drastic color changes and tweaks to the contrast that is meant to make the movie look “gritty” and realistic. It’s not done so wildly that it’s a detriment, but it’s still annoying for someone who appreciates a well done color grading. Blacks are rich and deep. Shadow detail is solid with only a few scenes where the blacks appear grey rather than a nice inky black. Overall a solid picture
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9158[/img]Audio wise we have a pretty solid track here as well. Dialogue is well balanced (when you can hear through 50 Cent’s mumbling) and channel separation is clean and distinct. I would have rated it higher had they just labeled it a 3.1 track, but being that it was SUPPOSED to be a 5.1 track I have some complaints. The rears were used minimalistically at BEST with a few chase scenes and the occasional footfall. However, most of the sound was centered snugly in the front 3 speakers. Even the action scenes suffered from a lack of surround usage. For what channels we are given the sound is great, but without those rear channels it felt limited. LFE was very solid. Nothing to make it rival the big boys, but my subs lit up during that initial chase scene and gunshots were deep and visceral to say the least. This isn’t going to win any awards for best sound design, but technically there was very little to complain about besides the afore mentioned lack of rear speaker usage
• Commentary with Director Jessy Terrero and Actor Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson
• Deleted Scenes
• Behind the Scenes
• Extended Interviews with Cast and Crew
I have mixed feelings about "Freelancers". I'm not sure whether to pan the movie as a poor movie or say it's a victim in the cinematic universe. There were some good performance by the veteran actors, along with the poor acting of some of the lesser known ones. The Plot line is wildly fluctuating at times, flitting from one scene to another without addressing any of the repercussions. Even the death of Malo's partner is just glossed over without any sense of sadness or sorrow. The whole thing felt like it was hobbled from the very get go due to the lack of script. While I'm not hailing this as a modern day "Waterworld" I'm not going to say that the movie was aweful either. It's worth a rental for those of us who are fans of the "corrupt cop" genre. Hard to recommend and just good enough to not pan completely "Freelancers" falls into that void where a redbox rental is about all justice this film deserves.
Recommendation: Rent It!