Though this movie has a first rate roster of fine actors, special effects that are excellent, and a story line that is full of surprises, it wasn't picked up for studio distribution and went directly to DVD. Perhaps it contains too much 'anti-police force' information, or perhaps it is juts one too many action flicks released during a glut, but whatever the reason the big screens missed the opportunity, fortunately the new concept of releasing direct to DVD allows us to enjoy it.
The theme is old: rookie reporter uncovers an inner circle of cops that are corrupt - in this case the F.R.A.T. (First Response Assault and Tactical) team, a group of well trained policeman created to clean up the mythical city of Edison from its low point of crime, drugs, prostitution etc. Working undercover the temptation of pocketing the confiscated goods and money proves too much of an opportunity and now, 15 years after its formation, FRAT is responsible for murder, drug trafficking, terrorizing innocent people etc. The lead dog is Lazerov (Dylan McDermott, who makes a terrifyingly real gangster!) and his partner Rafe Deed (LL Cool J, even more buff than usual and proving he can be a sensitive actor). Reporter Pollack (Justin Timberlake) catches wind of a 'bad mistake' and reports his theory of fraud and corruption to his paper's boss Ashford (the always reliably fine Morgan Freeman). Gradually Polack convinces Ashford and subsequently Wallace (Kevin Spacey, also a consistently fine character actor) and they aid Pollack in this investigative reporting. The closer Pollack gets to the truth the more surprises and bad incidents happen and the story runs pall mall toward a series of unexpected results.
Timberlake lacks the charisma to carry the lead, especially in the company of such seasoned actors. But LL Cool J, Freeman, Spacey, and McDermott keep the well-oiled machine of a movie rolling to the very end. No, it is not a great movie, but it is one that makes for an edge of the seat action flick with a message. Grady Harp, July 06