9 January 2010 | lost-in-limbo
One thing here is that you'll either get swept up in this delightfully moving family / brutally searing cop drama or think it's manipulative tugging away with its unconvincingly trite plot developments. I would go with the former, but I can see why some might not be entirely taken away by it
especially with its sugar-coated ending.
After the tragic death of his detective partner in their quest to crack down on a new wave drug --- Ice. Artie Lewis and his wife end up looking after the decease's three daughters with the possible intention of adopting them. However they're stretching for money and to keep them they have to find a house than living in their small apartment. Hence the dangerous path Artie decides to take to gain the extra doe to keep everyone together.
The simple minded mixture of two genres is for most part well balanced and organised in not so a black or white fashion, as it bestows a seamy underbelly with the violence packing a punch (plenty of blood and bruises) and the emotional attachment and complexity weight of a couple trying to cope with the responsibility of looking after three children. Hard at first, but it brings them joy. Nevertheless what really lifted this from the standard material were the solid performances. Michael Keaton's likable easy going persona along with a touching Reno Russo was holding it together. Tony Plana held a vicious intensity to his drug-dealer gangster and Kevin Conway was commanding as Lewis' Ltd. Anthony LaPaglia as his former cop partner is affably good and Benjamin Bratt also shows up as one of his fellow officers. Writer / director Heywood Gould (who co-penned the much underrated revenge feature "Rolling Thunder") drills away in what you could say is sturdily workmanlike, building upon the pressures at home and work. Entertaining, if questionable.