Although he nearly got into a fistfight with George Clooney on the set of Three Kings, notoriously difficult director David O. Russell still has a friend in Ice Cube (Lottery Ticket, Barbershop). Deadline is reporting that Russell (The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees) and Cube have reunited and are currently in talks with New Line to develop a police drama franchise for the 41-year-old rapper-turned-actor, which they're pitching as an homage to the gritty revenge flicks of the 1970s, like Dirty Harry and Death Wish. Cube would play a plainclothes cop with an itchy trigger finger.
Russell and Cube would produce the edgy R-rated drama, which the director conceived with New Line chief Toby Emmerich before bringing it to his Three Kings star. Russell may eventually co-write the script with input from Cube, with whom he is hammering out details, but New Line will likely bring another writer on board if the project ever gets off the ground.
However, even if this franchise does move ahead, I'm not sold on Cube's ability to carry it. While he was above average in Russell's 1999 Three Kings as Chief Elgin, his last several movies (Are We Done Yet?, Are We There Yet?) have seen the actor merely phoning it in for the easy paycheck. And even on his best day, Cube is certainly no Clint Eastwood. Still, David O. Russell is an extremely capable director - fistfights with George Clooney aside - so maybe I could look past the tired 'homage' pitch and hope that this project will have some redeeming qualities.
In the meantime, I'll be checking out Russell's latest film, The Fighter starring Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, in theaters December 10. Maybe it will inspire me to care about this silly Ice Cube-as-Dirty Harry conceit.