The crime thriller "Bent," not to be confused with the acclaimed Holocaust-era drama of the same name, is a routine programmer filled with surface characters, generic tough-talk and forgettable plotting. One wonders what drew talented writer-director Bobby Moresco, the Oscar-winning co-scripter of "Crash," to such uninspired material.
The story, based on characters created by novelist J.P. O'Donnell, involves Danny Gallagher (a stolid Karl Urban), an ex-cop wrongly deemed "bent" (corrupt) after a botched drug bust in which both his partner (Vincent Spano) and an undercover detective were killed.
Three years — and a prison term — later, Gallagher decides to investigate a car-bombing death he believes may be related to said drug bust. With input from old family friend and former cop Jimmy (Andy Garcia), Gallagher hunts down a largely ho-hum series of clues and connections involving a string of shady types. (The Louisiana-set film was shot in Rome.)
Pedestrian action and fight scenes ensue as well as an unconvincing fling between Gallagher and a federal agent (Sofia Vergara) who was romantically connected to the car bomb victim, the wife of a supposed government official (Joe Pacheco).
Strangely, Gallagher is scripted out of the film's final showdown, ending things on a bit of an anti-climactic note. He also misses out on an odd monologue about wild salmon. We're not so lucky.
Rating: R, for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.
Playing: AMC Universal CityWalk Stadium 19; also on VOD