City of Lies

Movie of cliches

LAPD detective Russell Poole has spent decades trying to solve the 1997 shooting death of rap superstar Notorious B.I.G. just months after Tupac’s senseless killing, but the crimes remain unsolved. He reluctantly teams up with investigative reporter “Jack” Jackson, equally desperate to solve the murder and rescue his flagging career. The two uncover a web of corruption that threatens the very roots of a police department wary of reigniting the recent Rodney King riots.

Sounds like good source material for an engaging cop opera. But in his efforts to pack an astounding amount of material and social commentary into a two-hour movie, director Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer, The Infiltrator) becomes overwhelmed by his own sprawling mystery. I lost interest about a half hour in.

The result is a dreary police procedural that even the talents of Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker can’t elevate to a watchable level. (112 min)