Brave One, The
"The Brave One" might be brave, but it isn't anything new
Jodie Foster's brand of vigilante justice falls flat

It is my opinion that Jodie Foster is one of our strongest and most talented American actresses. Foster is consistently convincing in a wide range of roles and her performances are focused and concentrated to pure intensity.

Then there's director Neil Jordan, a fascinating filmmaker who has demonstrated great depth from making blockbusters like "Interview with the Vampire" to smaller, more subtle films like "The Crying Game."

To this reviewer it would seem like a no-brainer, that any film combining the talents of these two would guarantee an intriguing story with award-worthy performances.

Unfortunately, this reviewer has been wrong more than his fair share in life.

But still, going into "The Brave One" I felt an authentic sense of anticipation - hoping to see Jodie Foster reclaim her former glory, along with a terrific supporting cast featuring names like Terrence Howard ("Hustle & Flow") and Naveen Andrews ("Lost").

The story goes like this: Foster plays Erica Ban (was this screenplay originally meant for Eric Bana?) a New York public radio host who offers tedious commentary about the city and how the times are changing. When not droning on about how ugly the world has become, she's living the good life with her fiancée David (Andrews).

While walking in the park one night, the ugly side of the city shows itself and Erica and David are brutally attacked by a gang of thugs - killing David and putting Erica in a coma for three weeks.

After weeks of recuperating and getting a handle on her flipped upside-down life, Erica gathers up the strength to leave her apartment. We find Erica in need of protection, which leads her to a nearby gun shop.

She is shocked to discover the harsh reality of those pointless waiting periods - thanks a lot liberals! - but thankfully, she finds a friendly neighborhood black-market dealer whom she gladly follows into a deserted alley in order to purchase a piece from him. The guy's so nice, he throws in the bullets for free - what a pal!

And so begins the vigilantism of Jodie Foster - with a black-market piece and a pocket full of bullets. Her first act of vengeance-filled heroism takes place at a convenience store when a lovely cashier is shot by her own crazed husband.

Erica instinctively pulls out her gun and shoots the guy dead before slipping away unnoticed (after stealing the videotape from the store's security camera).

At first Erica is horrified about what she has done, and there's that stereotypical (but somehow always effective) scene where our character takes a fully clothed (probably freezing cold) shower to wash away her sins and misdeeds.

She then accepts her hunger for vengeance and begins taking out the trash, as it were. After taking care of a couple subway punks, she ends up meeting by-the-book detective Sean Mercer (Howard) who is unknowingly investigating her handiwork.

You've seen this movie ten million times, hell, you might have even seen it a few weeks ago when it was called "Death Sentence" and starred a grief-stricken, vengeance-lustin' Kevin Bacon. Maybe you saw it back in the ‘70s when it starred Charles Bronson and was called "Death Wish."

If you're a fan of comics, you've definitely seen this story. Ripped from the pages of Daredevil, Ghost Rider and even everyone's favorite caped crusader, Batman, this story is fairly well worn territory. One can't help but think of 2005's "Batman Begins" with the straight-laced cop (in this case Jim Gordon) working side-by-side with a misunderstood millionaire-turned-vigilante.

The difference is, "Batman Begins" was amazing and this film is a shallow attempt to shock and dismay audiences by making a feminism movie that covers its tracks as a character study.

It's dry and while there are some good moments peppered throughout, overall "The Brave One" is lacking in almost every department. I'm sure Jodie Foster doesn't want to hear this, but it looks like she's missed the mark yet again.

Better luck next time, Jodie!
Reviewed by: adam