Black and Blue

Oct 31, 2019

More than just a bad-cop thriller.

Film reviewed: Black and Blue

Grade: B

Director: Deon Taylor (Traffik)

Screenplay: Pater A. Dowling (Reasonable Doubt)

Cast: Naomie Harris (Moonlight), Tyrese Gibson (Furious 7)

Rating: R

Runtime: 1h 48m

By: John DeSando

“Murder is murder, no matter who you are.”  Alicia (Naomi Harris)

That’s the truth. Dean Taylor’s Black and Blue is not about racism or sexism (even though Harris portrays a black rookie New Orleans cop and a woman in a man’s world). It’s about standing up for what’s right, regardless of the consequences because it’s murder despite the low lives of drug dealing and corrupt-cop framework.

Yes, it’s a cliché filled with stereotypes:  corrupt cops covering their murder of a drug-dealer; a rookie cop who witnesses the execution by bad cops; rookie cop running to escape the bad boys who want her incriminating body-cam recording of the murder; unrealistic timing breaks, and incredulous managers slow to see the truth of the actual incident. It’s all been played before in countless bad cop thrillers.

Yet, Alicia’s bloodied face and tenacious belief in justice are the elements that make this extended chase worth more than the usual thrills. Her willingness to suffer for the truth contrasts with the current political and social climate in which personal survival too often transcends decency and humanity.

Black and Blue is a doggedly genre film with the usual tropes that keep it from being a new direction in crime thrillers. However, Naomie Harris’s intense dedication to showing a cop fighting a corrupt system who is also an intelligent, tender human being raises the bar for run-of-the-mill crime actioners.

Like me, you may be caught once again in the suspense and in the realization that corruption in public office may just be possible.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at