Cuba Gooding Jr. as Salim Adel in Dirty (2005)

Finishing Day

There are two sides to every coin and there are two sides to the movie "Dirty" the interesting side where it basically suggests that corrupt cops are no different to the drug dealing gangs on the streets, their badges equivalent to a gang tattoo. And then there is the uninteresting side, the styling because unfortunately director Chris Fisher has made a movie too similar to "Training Day" and at times too similar to "Crash" and it doesn't match up. So whilst you may initially become hooked as similarities are made between corrupt cops and gangs it struggles to maintain your interest as it tries too hard to be something else.

Ever since an innocent man was killed during a police operation Officer Armando Sancho (Clifton Collins Jr.) has been haunted by what happened, it has forced him to consider what he is doing because along with his partner Salim Adel (Cuba Gooding Jr - Rat Race) they are two of many dirty copy in the LAPD precinct. Whilst he finds himself out with Salim dealing drugs for their superior Captain Spain (Keith David) he also has to deal with IA wanting him to give evidence and that leads to a strange feeling he is being set up.

Clifton Collins Jr. as Armando Sancho in Dirty (2005)

The best part of "Dirty" is the beginning as via a narration Armando explains his life having gone from being a gang banger to a cop and basically into a corrupt gang of officers no better than those on the street. It's an entertaining comparison which through out the first half of the movie is enforced not just by the fact we have talk of loyalty but also in the way we see Sancho and Adel react to situations. When they walk into the property of a drug baron they are prepared to be patted down as if they are the criminals and the way Adel abuses his power in various other ways does a nice job of keeping this in your mind.

The trouble is that "Dirty" ends up being too reminiscent of other movies and you end up comparing it to those movies. So from the fact the storyline covers a day in the life of these cops to the way the camera moves around, jerks, zooms in and out and so on is all too similar to "Training Day". In fact you can add the relationships between Sancho and Adel to that as Adel dominates Sancho in his cockiness. But then we get elements of "Crash" and a scene where Adel forces a girl to remove her underwear as he violates her is too much like a scene in "Crash". It also means that "Dirty" becomes a movie which ends up dominated by the style rather than the storyline which in truth spirals out of control come the end.

The shame of this is that "Dirty" has some good performances, whilst Cuba Gooding Jr. lacks the pure evilness to be 100% convincing as a corrupt cop with a street attitude it is at least a nice change to watch Gooding deliver a serious performances. And Gooding is partnered well by Clifton Collins Jr. who gets across the conflict of Sancho's character as he has to deal with whether to betray his partner by speaking to the IA. In fact I don't remember a bad performance in the movie and the two young actors, one a skateboarder the other the girl who Adel violates deliver stand out performances.

What this all boils down to is that "Dirty" despite setting up an interesting idea ended up becoming a movie which relied on style rather than substance and that style was too reminiscent of other movies making it feel a bit of a copycat.