Crime-based action films seem to be as much about setting as anything else nowadays.
The works of Guy Ritchie are quintessentially London-based, and could not be moved anywhere else; and as for America, Los Angeles or Detroit offer the typical place names and sense of dread people have come to expect. As such, a crime film should always be applauded for stepping outside of the box, and Crook seems as much a homage to its home of Ottowa, Canada in this way as it is anything else. But is this enough to carry a rather more generic by the numbers bang bang explode experience?
This film seems largely to have elements that collide, rather than a plot. Its protagonist, Bryce (Beach) is a career criminal, not quite middle aged, but bitter enough at his empty existence to seem past his years. He sells drugs, and dates a prostitute. He works for a very Mafia appearing Mob boss. There is a drug shipment gone bad, and also corrupt city officials and lawyers that get involved. A hard-as-nail no nonsense cop finds himself caught up in the events. There are betrayals and misdirection’s, and you never really know who is on whose side. Lots of guns are fired.
The problem with these elements is that they are extremely common in this kind of film. In the hands of a skillful artist, they can blend together to be used in their most powerful way, while still defying expectation. In Crook, they are somewhat staid and predictable, and offer no really new insight or observation for this genre. A stronger narrative theme about where things were ultimately heading might have helped them, but the best part of this film remains Adam Beach’s performance, which was above average.
Above average seems a good description for this movie. The problem with that sort of label is that it neither inspires memorability or infamy. It just kind of lets it sit there, forgotten.