Brenda (Moore) used to love injecting herself with hard drugs but now, after a remarkable mid-life transformation, she only loves her 4-year-old son Cody.
When the little brat gets kidnapped in a bungled carjacking Brenda goes a bit loopy and starts banging her fists against her forehead to prove exactly how upset she is.
Enter tough talking street cop Lorenzo (Jackson), a.k.a. “Big Daddy”, who says stuff like “kiss my black ass” and prefaces most of his nouns with “motherf**king”. After some dubious guesswork the pair head off to an abandoned orphanage called “Freedomland” and, remarkably, work out what’s happened to the poor little sod. But we’re only half way through the film at this point, so there’s a good hour or so of Moore sobbing to enjoy yet.
In the second most shocking piece of news this week (rest in peace Steve “Crocodile Man” Irwin) we discovered that Samuel L recently became the highest grossing movie star of all time. And yet, we can’t think of more than a couple of decent flicks he’s done in the last decade even in this adaptation of Richard Price’s acclaimed 1998 novel.
Richard Price, who adapted his own novel for this big screen failure, kicks off the extras proceedings with the featurette “Writing Freedomland”. In it, he explains how his formative years in a similar New York housing project gave him the idea for the story, and gives some forthright views on racism in modern day America.
Next up is real life homicide detective Calvin Hart – the man that Jackson based his character on – in the second of three featurettes, “Race on the Job”, that looks at his day-to-day life and examines racism in the NYPD.
Elsewhere there is a space-filling featurette called “The Look Of Freedomland” from production designer David Wasco, and a pointless deleted scene. There is no director’s commentary and neither Moore nor Jackson make an appearance.
Jacko has made a monstrous 50 movies since 1996, most of which have been forgettable garbage, and this latest effort continues the trend. Massive plot holes (why doesn’t Brenda mention her kid straight away?), a flagrant disregard for police procedures and some hysterical acting from Moore make this thriller-turned-social commentary a fairly unrewarding experience all-round.
Edie Falco’s late arrival does inject some emotion into proceedings but by the time you’ve sat through four endings (eclipsing even “The Lord of the Rings”) you’ll be shouting for the makers of “Freedomland” to be locked up.
Staring: Samuel L Jackson, Julianne Moore, Edie Falco, William Forsythe, Ron Eldard, Aunjanue Ellis
Directed by: Joe Roth
Extras: 'Writing Freedomland' featurette, 'Race On The Job' featurette, 'The Look Of Freedomland' featurette, Deleted scene