Directed by Deon Taylor, “Black and Blue,” is a commercial entertainer, but it understands the nitty-gritties of the system. Every community, every culture, and every nation has their own set of politics, which is unique to them. To understand and become a part of the system, you have to understand the power dynamics. You have to understand the references and the inspirations. Only then can you become a part of the community or culture. No system has been changed just by commenting on it while sitting on the outside. You have to be in the system to change the system.
Idealism is often the biggest enemy when you want to change things from the ground up. One has to be pragmatic in their approach and understand the law of the land, which is sometimes unsaid, but still inherently embedded in each and every native. In “Black and Blue,” Alicia West realizes that over a period of time. She realizes that Layayette was not the place she had once known to be. The air was thick with malevolence, but still, she had hope that it would change.
It was not exactly the kind of welcome that Alicia West expected when she returned to her city. She was stopped by two police officers while she was jogging early in the morning. She is manhandled and frisked for no apparent reason. The police officers find out that she is also a blue (police officer), and that’s when they leave her. Alicia is startled as she was unaware of the developments that had taken place in the time period when she was not there. The hostility against black people had risen. She goes on her usual patrol with her partner, Kevin Jennings. She sees abandoned houses as the area has been hit by Katrina, a hurricane that has caused huge devastation in the area. It felt like the government turned a blind eye towards the area and left the people to fend for themselves.
Law and order were words alien to the city and its people. They pass through a ghetto named Kingston Manor, and Kevin tells Alicia that they had stopped responding to the emergency calls from the area unless and until they knew that a “Blue” was in trouble. All sorts of illegal activities took place at Kingston Manor. It was a fortress where the law of the land didn’t apply. They had their own set of rules, and every individual was born with a disdain for the cops.
While on patrol, Alicia bumps into her old friend, Missy. She sees Missy’s son, Jamal, and starts talking to him. Alicia tells Missy that she is her old friend, but Missy pretends that she doesn’t recognize her. In her air of haughtiness, Missy leaves the scene. Alicia couldn’t fathom what was happening. Kevin tells them that the people she was talking to belonged to the Kingston Crew, a dangerous gang operating in the area. These people had special contempt for police officers. Alicia, still not able to process, goes inside the superstore and meets Mouse, who was Missy’s cousin. She asks him why Missy acted so coldly. Mouse doesn’t tell her anything, but Alicia knew one thing for sure: the air of the town had become belligerent, and it had ceased to be a place that she once knew.
Kevin had a double shift, but as he had a date that night, Alicia agreed to take his place. She had to ride with Deacon Brown, who was contemptuously ridiculed by a rookie tagging along with him. Deacon knew the system; he was a part of it. Things were done in a particular manner in the city, and according to him, a law-abiding and conscientious person like Alicia either fell in line with the system or was thrown out of it. He mocked her idealistic views and considered them highly impractical. He asks her to wait outside an old warehouse-type building. He tells her that he had to meet a C.I. Alicia hears shots being fired and decides to go inside. She sees Deacon Brown standing with two other agents from the narcotics bureau, Terry Malone and Smitty.
Malone had shot two people, and Alicia had filmed it all on her body cam. They spot her and start firing shots. Alicia falls on the floor below, but her bulletproof vest saves her. Alicia calls for help from her walkie, but the signal is intercepted by Terry, who tells the call agent that he will handle the situation. Alicia runs for her life as she realizes that nobody will come to help her. On the road, she sees another police car. She goes in the middle of the road and shouts for help. The police car stops, and a sergeant comes out. He asks Alicia to come and sit in the car with him. At that moment, she sees the other police officer in the driving seat talking on his walkie. She also had one in her pocket, so she hears what he says, and realizes that they were also with Terry Malone. She scurries for cover once again.
Unable to find a place to hide and anyone to trust, she resorted to her old friend, Mouse. She goes inside the store where he used to work. Mouse didn’t want to indulge in any of this. Without telling her, he informs the police. Sergeant Doyle, the one from whom Alicia had asked for help earlier. The Sargent arrives at the scene. Mouse has a change of heart, and he doesn’t inform them that Alicia was hiding in his store. Not able to find anything, the police officer leaves. Alicia decides to leave and calls her partner, Kevin Jennings, because she thought that she could trust him. As soon as she sits in the car with Jennings, she realizes that he was also with Terry Malone.
Alicia was beyond distraught. She didn’t know even a single person whom she could trust. She once again goes to Mouse’s house and begs him to let her take cover there for a few hours.
Major Spoilers Ahead
‘Black And Blue’ Ending Explained: Was Alicia Able To Prove Her Innocence And Expose Terry Malone?
The boy who had been killed belonged to the Kingston Crew. The head of the crew, Darius, arrives at the scene where Zero has been killed. Terry Malone fabricates a different story for Darius. He tells him that Alicia killed him. Terry Malone had a deal with the gangs. He took a percentage of the drug sales. But with the mayor wanting to clean up the city, Terry was forced to remove the trails.
Darius believes him, as Malone had never backstabbed the gang earlier. The story seemed perfect, so the police, as well as Kingston Crew, were on a hunt to kill Alicia West.
With the CCTV recordings, they came to know that she had been in the store where Mouse used to work. Malone goes to Mouse’s house, but they somehow escape. The Kingston Crew find Mouse and take him to their den, Kingston Manor.
A heavily injured Alicia, with no allies and no support, decides to take the biggest risk of her life, which either could end up exposing Malone or get her killed. She hides her body camera in an abandoned building and then goes to Kingston Manor. She remembered what Kevin Jennings had told her once. Unless and until a “blue” was in trouble, no police officer ever entered Kingston Manor. She knew that if she could get high-ranking officers to the Manor, then she might have a chance to expose Malone, who otherwise would definitely get the better of her. When Malone hears about Alicia being at Kingston Manor, he tells Smitty, Deacon Brown, and Kevin Jennings to shoot her before the other officials find her, and she gets to make her case.
Alicia shows the video to Darius and his gang members. They come to know that it was Terry Malone who had killed Zero. They do not get any time to strategize their next move as the police force conducts a crackdown. Terry shoots Darius and everybody else who comes in his way. Alicia gives her body cam to Mouse and asks him to go to the police station and upload the footage.
Terry Malone finds Alicia, and they enter into a blood-soaked battle. She almost kills Terry when the Special Reaction team intervenes. Terry handcuffs her, and he asks Alicia to give him the body cam.
But that day, fate was on Alicia’s side. Mouse successfully uploads the video, and Captain Hackett sees it. She tells the forces to stand down. Terry tries to shoot Alicia, but Kevin intervenes and shoots him in his bulletproof vest. It throws Terry off balance, and he falls down in agonizing pain.
At the end of “Black and Blue,” Terry Malone is arrested for three counts of first-degree murder. Alicia became the change she wanted to see. She knew that what was happening in her city was not justified. There was a reason why places like Kingston Manor existed. The black community was neglected and oppressed by the system. Alicia knew that she had to do something about it. Maybe that one night didn’t change anything. But the people at Kingston Manor knew that now there was a cop who was ready to fight for them and give voice to the voiceless.
“Black and Blue” is a 2019 crime thriller film directed by Deon Taylor.