Review: Black And Blue, Not So Colorful

Actress Naomie Harris played police officer Alicia West. Photo from blackandblue.movie

By Dikembe Wilkins, Howard University News Service

Washington DC– The title of this movie will tell you everything you need to know about the overarching theme. The only thing that matters in this story are the colors Black and Blue. Police call themselves Blues and by looking at the cast I’m sure you can tell who are the Blacks . The film is a commentary on the black community’s relationship with police, telling the audience that both sides can be unfair to each other, but can find a common ground. However, corrupt police officers drive the plot as the lead, Alicia West, played by Naomie Harris, catches corrupt narcotics officers killing multiple gang members without reason on her body cam.

The Good

Naomie Harris is the best thing about this movie. In every scene she brings out the most in her character even if other actors in the scene are not matching her performance. While there is not a bad shot in the film, there are no shots that stand out. Director, Deon Taylor, played the shooting of this movie very safe and I wish that he would have been a little more experimental with his shots even if some didn’t come out looking the best, as the film is lacking in memorable visuals. 

From the first scene, the message of the film is  delivered very clearly and continues throughout the film’s dialogue even though at times it lacks subtlety.

The film doesn’t stand out as an action movie. The fight choreography is not complex, innovative or new and neither are the situations in which the action takes place, but they are easy to follow and deliver excitement.

The Bad

There is a white savior in the movie.

This is one of Tyrese Gibson’s weakest performances, his emotions at times seem to be phoned in and at other times he sounds downright robotic.

Mike Colter may not have been the best choice to cast as Darius, the leader of one of the gangs . He does not give the audience a reason to fear him or what he may do to the heroes outside of his clearly superior size and strength. While this may be the fault of the director, his actions can come off as cartoonish at times, acting more like a vampire from a Blade movie than a crime boss in a cop movie. 

The lines from the characters off screen are reminiscent of an episode of the Boondocks and make the people of the city sound more like black caricatures than black people.

All of the characters aside from Alicia West are fairly one dimensional and even she does not have much exploration into her character beyond the surface level making it hard to care about any member of the cast outside of West.


The story is very plot driven with a clear message that is neither anti-black nor anti-police, urging the audience to “try and change the system from the inside.” Overall the movie was enjoyable, eliciting positive emotions from the audience mostly through the lead’s actions. However, it lacked depth, failed in many aspects of execution and had an insufficiency of remarkability.


Rating: 5.5/10