One brother turns away from the family tradition of being a police officer only to be forced back into police service upon the murder of his father. Joaquin Phoenix plays the lead character of Bobby. He is a nightclub owner. His cousin Joseph (played by Mark Walhberg) is a police officer. His father, Burt, is the New York City Police Chief (played by Robert Duvall). Bobby's nightclub is supported by the Russian mob. The police want Bobby to inform on the activities of a Russian mobster. After going to a party thrown by the NYPD, Bobby is confronted by his brother Joseph and his father Burt. Bobby refuses to become an informer for NYPD.
Burt, as police chief, publicly announces a new police initiative to capture and control drug dealers. At a memorial service, Joseph asks for a moment of silence for the other brother killed as a police officer in the line of fire. Bobby ignores the lifestyle of his remaining brother and father. Bobby prefers instead the lifestyle of partying at the club he owns in Brooklyn. The Russian mob boss, Marat Buzhayev (played by Moni Moshonov) supports him and asks him to open new club to increase profits. Bobby suggests they try for a new club in Manhattan.
The police raid the nightclub to arrest the Russian Vadim Nezhinski (played by Alex Veadov). The raid is led by Bobby's brother Joseph. They shake down the club. They arrest Bobby as well. They arrest two guys next to Nezhinski. One of the Russian guys, who is arrested, cuts his own throat in the police station. Bobby sees this. Joseph asks his dad Burt to make arrangements to let Bobby out of jail. Burt does this reluctantly. Bobby comes into the police station to confront his brother Joseph. Joseph says they waited until it was Bobby's day off. Bobby was not supposed to be in the club and the target of the police action was not the club; it was Nezhinski. Joseph and Bobby have a physical fight in Joseph's police office.
Later that night, Joseph is shot point blank in his face in front of his house and his car is set afire. Bobby knows nothing about this. Joseph is taken to the hospital. But some miracle, Joseph escapes death when the bullet went through his face and jaw but missed his brain. Bobby goes immediately to see Joseph in the hospital when he nears the news. Bobby's dad Burt, the police captain, is there, Burt tells Bobby he got want he wants. The hit was Russian style and Bobby's connection to Nezhinski is obviously the reason for Joseph being attacked. Joseph is not dead but will need to be in the hospital for a few months to recover. Bobby goes into the hospital room to see his brother unconscious.
Nezhinski tells Bobby they are bringing in a big shipment of drugs and they want to Bobby to help move it. Nezhinski says they are going to kill more police, including Bobby's father. They have a specific contract to kill him. Nezhinski does not know Bobby is related to police when he tells Bobby the palns to kill Bobby's father. Bobby tells his father, the Russian gang is going to kill him. Bobby gives Burt all the information he knows. Bobby agrees to secretly carry a transmitter, hidden in a Zippo lighter. and to set up a meeting with the Russian gang to locate the warehouse. Bobby sets up the meeting. They blindfold him and take him to the warehouse. He is caught wearing the transmitter. He signals for the police to come in for the raid. Bobby is shot but not killed in the raid. Bobby jumps out the window. The Russian Nezhinski is arrested. Nezhinski learns Bobby is the son of the police chief, while he is being taken away.
Bobby is put under witness protection. Joseph gets out of the hospital. Bobby goes to Joseph's welcome home party. They have an argument. It is two months until the trial. Nezhinski is in Riker's prison. Nezhinski finds a way to be taken to the hospital from the prison. He escapes. They move Bobby from the hotel where they are hiding him. The go in a three-car convoy with Burt leading. The cars are attacked on the road. The Russian mafia try to kill Bobby. The cars exchange gunfire. Bobby's father is shot. He crashes his car. Other police arrive on the scene. It is too late. Bobby's father is dead.
Bobby decides to join the police. He has a fight with his girlfriend over this. The police commissioner grants him a special dispensation for Bobby to join the New York city police department immediately and to go to the police academy later. Bobby goes back to the nightclub. He sees his assistant manager running the club, who knows more than he should. He is working with the Russians. Bobby learns Marat, who was his investor in the nightclub, is also the head of the Russian mafia. Nezhinski works for Marat. Bobby learns there is a big shipment of drugs coming in. They are smuggling the drugs in fur pelts. The police raid the warehouse where the drug deal is being made. Nezhinski escapes into the nearby grassland. Bobby gives chase. They set the grass on fire to flush Nezhinski out. Bobby enters the grass, shoots Nezhinski and leaves him dying in the burning grass. Marat is arrested. Marat tells Bobby he did not know it was his family who he put the hit on. Bobby graduates from the police academy following in the family tradition to be police officers.
Best part of story, including ending:
It is interesting the one brother who tries his best to get away from the family tradition of being a policeman, has to become a cop to avenge his father's murder.
Best scene in story:
I like the car chase scene when the Russian mafia are trying to kill Bobby because it is very exciting.
Opinion about the main character:
Bobby is not really all that good, but in the end he chooses to be on the path of the good guys and become a police officer which redeems him.