Some "Freelancers" Would Be Better Off Getting A Full Time Job Review

It's tough to tell someone as accomplished and talented as Robert De Niro that it might be time to hang up the spurs, but with any luck, his first screening of Freelancers will do that for us. Even while clearly inspired by a slew of cop dramas that he helped to define, the film has the former Jake LaMotta playing such a shadow of his former self that it's hard to find enjoyment even in unintentionally campy moments (such as when he instructs 50 Cent to snort a line of coke). He might be the only at all convincing part of Freelancers, but his presence only makes the film more depressing than it already is.

The son of a slain police officer, Malo (50 Cent) joins the force in the hope of honoring his memory, but pretty quickly discovers just how corrupt the entire NYPD is. Like all of the films on his recent filmography, Freelancers really serves no purpose but to aggrandize 50 Cent's public persona. Special note is taken that his character was the first to bed the hot bartender at the local police watering hole, but we're also treated to sympathetic scenes of him laying flowers at his father's grave. So much effort is put into making him likeable that he comes across as a less a character than a committee-approved brand, embodied by the man who brought us "Candy Shop".

If that were all, Freelancers would be more irritating than soul-shaking, but to put such talented actors as De Niro, Forrest Whitaker, and Andre Royo in the background to better support the star power of 50 Cent feels nothing short of criminal. It's doubtful that anything could halt Mr. Cent's mania for becoming a film star in his own right, but if he's going to continue on this path, he'd do well to stop surrounding himself with people whose mere presence is going to invite comparison to much, much better movies. It only serves to build expectations that he'll never meet, rather than elevate his own presence in any way.

SPECIAL FEATURES

There's an audio commentary with director Jessy Terrero and 50 Cent, as well as behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew, deleted scenes and a trailer.

"Freelancers" is on sale August 21, 2012 and is rated R. Crime. Directed by Jessy Terrero. Written by L. Phillippe Casseus. Starring 50 Cent, Forest Whitaker, Malcolm Goodwin, Michael McGrady, Robert De Niro, Ryan Onan, Anabelle Acosta, Beau Garrett, Andre Royo, Matt Gerald.

Aug
29
2012
Anders Nelson • Associate Editor

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