What happens when you put Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Robert De Niro together in the same movie? Well, the universe doesn’t explode into a fireball of screaming agony like I first thought it would when I saw “Freelancers” come out.
Our friends out at Lions Gate sent a copy of “Freelancers” out for us to review, and the end result…well…let’s just say I kind of saw this coming. But to its limited defense, only kind of.
Freelancers introduces us to a young man who’s just joined the force in New York, Jonas Maldonado, and he’s got good reason to do so. His father was also a New York cop, and was killed in the line of duty, leaving his son to take up the mantle for his deceased father. Our bereaved new cop finds himself joining up with a group of rogue “Gotham cops”, including, unexpectedly, his father’s old partner. Maldonado is set up to take on a series of challenges in a bid to prove his loyalty, and his worth, but when he discovers the truth behind his father’s death, it’s only a matter of time until Jonas is truly tested, and revenge for his fallen father becomes the first thing on his mind.
I confess to some trepidation; not only did they set up a comparatively standard piece of work, but a purported letter from an assistant district attorney managed to misspell the word “hereby” by spelling it “hearby”. That shot believability for me, and it only got worse when the whole thing segued into the most pedestrian crime drama ever. And in all honesty, I’m a little disappointed with the idea that they’d say De Niro was in this anyway. He’s an important character, granted, but his character gets maybe 15 minutes of screen time out of the movie’s 96 minute run time.
It does improve somewhat toward the end, but it’s never a good sign when, in the last 15 minutes, a movie gets watchable after spending the 80 minutes preceding it being a big steamy lump of More of the Same.
After watching several of 50 Cent’s movies, which all seem at least vaguely similar, Freelancers turns out to be little more than just another notch in 50 Cent’s belt, nothing particularly great, nothing particularly terrible–a mostly sludgy affair with a few bright points mixed in, like raisins in a batch of oatmeal cookie batter–and should be at the very least worth a rental, especially for those who like their crime dramas mostly predictable, very violent, and with an occasional surprise mixed in.