Starring: 50 Cent,
Forest Whitaker, Robert De Niro.
"All of them will take
their cue from you. You show them it's about the work, it will
be about the work. You show them some other kind of game, then
that's the game they'll play."
50 Cent's latest film is a
surprising fit to the aforementioned quote from HBO's The
The frank message was
spoken by Lieutenant Daniels to Ellis Carver, shortly before
the young Detective made rank and earned a command over rookie
police. In Freelancers, a trio of friends experience
three distinct paths after each settles with his respective
plays Jonas "Malo" Maldonado, a Nuyorican cop with a flashy
smile and an S-Curl. The son of a murdered police
officer, Malo joins the force after graduating the police
academy with two of his best friends, all partners in drug
during their youth.
It isn't long until Malo is
taken under the wing of his father's corrupt former partner,
Joe Sarcone, portrayed by Academy Award winner Robert De Niro.
As the film progresses, Malo must come to terms with both his
own unethical behavior, and the secrets of his father's past.
What makes Freelancers
stand out from other movies within its budget range is
clearly the cast. As Vice Crime Task Force Captain Joe
Sarcone, Robert De Niro brings a relaxed air of
professionalism into each of his scenes. Forest Whitaker loses himself completely in
his role as LaRue, the continually-stoned Detective
responsible for showing Malo the ropes of working within their rogue unit.
TV and film veteran Malcolm
Goodwin is a breath of fresh air as A.D., Malo's friend and
the most level-headed of his inner circle. The only
problem with assembling an experienced cast, however, is that
it emphasizes just how inexperienced 50 Cent is as an actor.
Chalk it up to sharing dialogue with some of Hollywood's most
talented stars, or simply being a new jack to the big screen,
but Fiddy's film performances still leave much to be desired.
Fans of The Wire will enjoy
seeing Robert Wisdom (Major "Bunny" Colvin) reprise his role
as a police officer with a heart in Freelancers. Wisdon isn't
the only Wire alumni to join the ranks of Freelancers,
however. Andre Royo, better known as Bubbles, is featured as Malo's father through a series of flashbacks in the film.
Aside from the cast, the other
highlight of Freelancers is having Director Jessy Terrero behind the
lens. The film is a visual treat, which isn't a surprise
considering the Dominican filmmaker has directed over 50 featured music videos
throughout his career.
Having said all that, what
makes Freelancers a bit of a disappointment is the writing.
Freelancers is part Training Day, part Deep Cover, and with a
story that isn't particularly memorable. It's hard to
determine whether certain plot holes in the film were related
to less-than-stellar screenplay writing, or were simply a
result of scheduling restrictions.
Although De Niro's
character is described as being "like a father" to Malo,
there's very little in the story that supports the idea. Terrero explains in the Blu-Ray director's commentary that he was
extremely limited as to when they could shoot De Niro's scenes,
so it's possible that those limitations are why we never
truly witness a close bond develop between Sarcone and Malo.
Blu-Ray extras include a
series of interviews with Director Jessy Terrero, 50 Cent,
Forest Whitaker, Malcolm Goodwin, Ryan O'Nan, Beau Garrett,
Anabelle Acosta, L. Philippe Casseus (writer), and producer
There are also nearly 20
minutes worth of deleted scenes, including a few interesting
story lines that would have cleared up several plot holes
(Beau Garrett certainly got the short end of the stick in that
The director's commentary
with Jessy Terrero and 50 Cent also provided a great deal of
insight into their choices of filming locations, and how they
were able to make the most out of scheduling restrictions with
actors and stuntmen alike. Terrero also clarifies which
scenes were shot in New York, as opposed to those filmed in
If you're looking for a
decent crime drama, Freelancers is worth a rental. But it's
still disappointing that a film with a seasoned cast and a
talented director is dragged down by mediocre writing and a
lead actor who simply lacks real acting chops. It's
worth giving this one a rent at your local Redbox before you
decide to buy the Blu-Ray or DVD.