Brooklyn’s Finest appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The movie came with a pretty ordinary transfer.
Sharpness seemed erratic. Close-ups and two shots provided decent to good definition, but wider elements lacked much clarity. The presence of some edge haloes didn’t help, as they made the image more tentative than I’d like. Jagged edges weren’t an issue, but shimmering cropped up occasionally, and some compression artifacts caused noise along the way. At least source flaws weren’t a factor, as the flick remained clean.
Like many modern cop dramas of this sort, Finest went with a bluish overtones much of the time. Other hues emerged – especially inside clubs, where we found colored lighting – but the blues dominated. The tones tended to be somewhat flat, as even within the stylized palette, they looked less dynamic than they should. The colored lights also appeared a bit messy and heavy.
Blacks showed acceptable deepness, but shadows usually came across as somewhat thick. These shots weren’t awful, but they appeared murkier than I’d expect. Nothing about this transfer ever became poor, but the image lacked much clarity and seemed average for SD-DVD.
On the other hand, Finest boasted a solid Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. With a mix of action scenes, the soundscape boasted many opportunities for a good swirl of information. These included cars, helicopters, and gunfire for the most part; those elements demonstrated nice localization and meshed together cleanly. The surrounds bolstered the components well and delivered a smooth, involving track.
No issues with audio quality emerged. Speech was concise and natural, with no edginess on display. Music displayed good range and vivacity, while effects appeared clear and accurate. Bass response seemed tight and deep as well. All in all, I felt pleased with the movie’s soundtrack.
As we shift to supplements, we start with an audio commentary from director Antoine Fuqua. He delivers a running, screen-specific chat that examines cast and performances, sets and locations, score, story/characters/themes, cinematography and visual style, editing, realism and research.
Fuqua's discussion leans heavily toward interpretation and the meaning of the film and away from movie-making nuts and bolts. That's fine, as he digs into the flick pretty well and avoids simply narrating the action. Fuqua manages to include enough behind the scenes details to satisfy, and the rest of the track becomes informative. I may not care much for the movie, but Fuqua explains his methods/purposes well.
Under Featurettes, we get four clips. These fill a total of 24 minutes, 30 seconds and include “Chaos and Conflict: The Life of a New York Cop” (6:51), “Boyz n the Real Hood” (5:47), “An Eye For Detail: Director Featurette” (6:35) and “From the MTA to the WGA: Writer Featurette” (5:17). Across these, we hear from Fuqua, screenwriter Michael C. Martin, stuntmen Eddie Speller, Eric Dequan Shaw and Rasheem Tripps, extra Errol Mac, producers John Langley, Basil Iwanyk and John Thompson, and actors Ethan Hawke, Don Cheadle, Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Jas Anderson, and Shannon Kane. The shows cover story, characters and research, cast and performances, shooting in New York, visual design and Fuqua’s approach to the film, and aspects of how Martin created the script.
That final thread – represented in “MTA” – offers by far the most interesting. Finest represents Martin’s first filmed screenplay, so it’s fun to hear his unusual story. The rest of the material tends to be pretty forgettable, though, as the featurettes largely stick with fluffy material. We get a few minor details, but the footage remains more promotional than I’d like.
Seven Deleted Scenes go for 31 minutes, 17 seconds. These tend toward expository moments, mostly as they relate to secondary characters. We see an extended version of Tango’s traffic stop, and we get more with Caz, Sal’s family and Eddie’s “girlfriend”. None of these contribute much.
Some extended endings prove to be a little more interesting. The first shows that a character we assumed died didn’t, and it also lets us see the family of another deceased person. In the second, we find out what happened to one of the leads after the climactic evening. The latter’s a very dark finale, so I’m glad the filmmakers nixed it; the released film comes with a depressing enough conclusion, so the addition of this scene would make the flick even more downbeat.
A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Spartacus: Blood and Sand and The Crazies. In addition, we find the trailer for Finest and previews for Pandorum, Law-Abiding Citizen, and Ultimate Fighting Championship under “Also On DVD”.
Because it focuses on its main characters – and none of those characters rises above the level of “stock” - Brooklyn’s Finest lacks much power. We don’t get to know the personalities above a superficial level, so our investment in them – and interest in their stories – fails to thrive. The DVD presents average visuals, very good audio, and a generally positive set of supplements highlighted by a good commentary. Although I wouldn’t call Finest a poor film, it’s not one that rises above genre mediocrity.