It’s been eight long years since Wesley Snipes has been in anything resembling a box-office hit. Since then, the action-movie mainstay has stumbled into one career manhole after another. As we reported in a profile of the troubled actor in 2007, Snipes has been a magnet for chaos off-screen (a long and costly series of court battles with the IRS over his alleged refusal to pay taxes) and a shadow of his former self on-screen. In fact, six of his last seven movies, featuring C-list costars and interchangeable titles like The Contractor and The Detonator, have gone straight-to-DVD.
Before all of this, as you’ll recall, Snipes was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood. In the ’90s, he seemed to hopscotch from one hit film to the next: Jungle Fever, White Men Can’t Jump, Rising Sun, To Wong Foo, Waiting to Exhale, and, of course, 1998’s Blade. Looking back at that heyday now, it’s hard to believe that one man could fall so far so fast. And since then, one question has remained unanswered like a stubborn riddle: does the man have a comeback left in him?
It looks like we’re finally about to get our answer. On Friday, Snipes will finally share the screen again with actors you’ve heard of (Ethan Hawke, Richard Gere, Don Cheadle) in Antoine Fuqua’s gritty crime flick, Brooklyn’s Finest. And judging from the trailer, it looks like he might have landed right back in that New Jack City sweet spot.
Sure, the whole thing may look a tad familiar to anyone who sat through 2001’s Training Day (also directed by Fuqua and starring Hawke). But this time around, there’s the added drama we’ll all be bringing to the multiplex with our ten bucks: will Wesley Snipes finally find his way back to the A-list? If you’re inclined to say “I don’t think so,” not so fast. As one actor we used to cheer for once said: “Always bet on black!”
What do you think: Are you going to see Brooklyn’s Finest? Are you rooting for a Snipes comeback?