A rookie New Orleans cop exposes corruption within the force in “Traffik” director Deon Taylor’s white-knuckled cop versus cop thriller “Black and Blue” (*** OUT OF ****), starring Naomie Harris, Mike Colter, Frank Grillo, and Tyrese Gibson.  Most protagonists have enough time on their jobs before they bite off more than they can chew.

Fresh out of the police academy with top honors and two tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, Alicia West is surprised by the reception she receives in the Crescent City.  Although she is an African American, everybody who grew up with Alicia in the hood cannot see past her badge, so she wrestles with an acute identity problem.

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They treat her as an enemy!  Worse, she wears a bulletproof vest with POLICE emblazoned across it, and this alienates them, too.  Alicia’s childhood friends want nothing to do with her because she has betrayed them.  Sadly, this is the last thing the idealistic West (Naomie Harris of “Moonlight”) imagined would handicap her.

Winning their trust back seems impossible.  Unlike his earlier contrived, half-baked melodramas, specifically “Traffik” and “The Intruder,” Taylor has stepped up his game with the 108-minute, R-rated, “Black and Blue.”

First, he has assembled a plausible cast, toplined by Harris’ straightforward but sympathetic performance. As virtuous as our heroine is, the villain must be utterly vile to provoke an audience.  As the corrupt undercover narc who aims to ice the rookie, Terry Malone (Frank Grillo of “Avengers Endgame”) is unforgettable and constitutes a pugnacious adversary.

The best action thrillers boast a brutally despicable foe, and Grillo’s Detective Terry Malone will make your blood boil.  Mind you, not only must West triumph over the murderous Malone, but she also must dodge a lead hailstorm laid down by the Ninth Ward’s black gangsters. Second, Taylor has done an excellent job of painting his vulnerable heroine into a corner that appears to spell her doom.

Watching West wage war on two fronts against overwhelming numbers of good and bad cops as well as hordes of trigger-happy hoodlums makes “Black and Blue” an edge-of-the-seat experience in suspense and tension.

As “Black and Blue” unfolds, Alicia West is jogging through a suburban New Orleans neighborhood dressed in a hoodie and sweat pants when suspicious cops roust her.  They are surprised as much as she is about their treatment of her.

Although it doesn’t qualify as an auspicious start for West, this incident ignites the suspense and tension that galvanizes this female spin on Antoine Fuqua’s “Training Day” (2001).  West’s racial identity and wardrobe typecast her as a suspect in the eyes of these two, middle-aged, Caucasian cops.

Later, at the police precinct, West suits up with her gray-around-the-jowls, thirtysomething, white partner, Kevin (Reid Scott of “Venom”), who plasters his locker with family photos.  Kevin briefs Alicia about their beat in the infamous Ninth Ward, one of the more unsavory in the hurricane ravaged remnants of New Orleans.

According to Kevin, the police don’t enter certain vicinities unless they are accompanying a Special Response Team to rescue one of their own. Kevin stops at a grocery store for coffee and snacks, while Alicia chats with an African American youth fooling around with his cell phone.

When she tries to strike up a friendly conversation, the lad assures her the phone isn’t stolen.  As she tries to minimize his fears, his aggressive mom, Missy (Nafessa Williams of “Brotherly Love”), warns Alicia to leave her son alone.

Alicia realizes that little about being a cop in the ‘Big Easy’ isn’t ‘peasy.’ Meantime, Kevin and she are amenable because each treats the other with respect.  He babbles about his family and his upcoming date night with his wife.  After they return to the precinct, Kevin rhapsodizes about his date night plans.

Suddenly, he learns he must pull a double shift.  Instead, Alicia volunteers to take the extra shift.  If the first cops she encountered on her jog were surly, the cop she is stuck with is definitely hostile.  During their patrol, Officer Deacon Brown (James Moses Black of “Logan”) takes a personal phone call and drives to an abandoned factory building.

Ordering Alicia to stay in the car, Brown checks in with a confidential informant.  Impatiently, our naive heroine enters the factory and witnesses a dispute between Malone and a black drug dealer that turns into cold-blooded murder.  Malone and his accomplices are just as flabbergasted by her sudden appearance.  Since she is wearing a body cam, Alicia has recorded video of the murder.

One of Malone’s dirty cops wastes no time pumping Alicia full of lead.  The hail of bullets catapults her backwards, and the impact propels her body through rotten floorboards so she plunges from the second floor into a pile of debris.

Alicia’s body armor protects against the bullets, but she loses her pistol.  Frantically, she escapes while Malone and company search for her.  Malone wastes no time framing Alicia for the murder of the drug dealer and then telling the kingpin drug dealer, Darius (Mike Colter of Netflix’s “Luke Cage”), that she shot his nephew!

Most of this synopsis occurs in the “Black and Blue” trailers.  Alicia becomes the object of a widespread manhunt to retrieve her body cam and permanently silence her.  Desperate, alone, and wounded, our beleaguered heroine contemplates few available options.

Comparably, Alicia’s plight recalls Ethan Hawke’s dilemma with Denzel Washington’s dirty cop in “Training Day,” but Alicia isn’t as fortuitous as Ethan Hawke’s character.  She finds herself trapped between a rock and a hard place.  Nobody wants to help her, until Milo ‘Mouse’ Jackson, (Tyrese Gibson of “Four Brothers”) reluctantly steps up.

As a wary, low-key kind of guy, Tyrese Gibson gives a surprising but rewarding performance.  Meantime, the villainous Malone has done a painstaking job of convincing everybody, including a doubtful Captain Regina Hackett (Deneen Tyler of “Logan Lucky”), that Alicia is homicidal.   A tense, fingernail-gnawing thriller, “Black and Blue” resorts to outlandish antics before its volatile finale.

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