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May 19, 2008 | by  | in Film | [ssba]

Film Review: Street Kings

Directed by David Ayer

Street Kings tells the story of ‘LA’s deadliest white boy’ Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves), a vodka-swilling LAPD cop who gets dobbed in to Internal Affairs by his ex-partner for repeatedly breaking the rules and going to any means necessary to bring in the bad guys. When said ex-partner gets murdered on the job what was once legitimized by Ludlow’s superior officer quickly becomes a violent cycle of cover-up and revenge.

The director, David Ayer, and writer, James Ellroy, are successful masters of the good cop-bad cop story. Ellroy’s well known The Black Dahlia was made in the not too distant past. While sufficiently entertaining, Street Kings fails to deliver anything that we didn’t already know or that we couldn’t see coming half an hour before the characters did. The fact that LA is full of criminals and corrupt police isn’t exactly interesting anymore.

What, I guess, is supposed to be a cop grappling with his conscience and trying to work out who is corrupt and who isn’t (everybody, duh!) does little more than constantly cause me to think of where I’ve seen this story before – Training Day, Dirty Harry, Harsh Times and of course LA Confidential.

Keanu Reeves, the heroic white knight of the streets, doesn’t seem to work either. Some strange facial expressions (or lack thereof), as well as one or two laughable lines add to what the audience already knows from the first scene: Keanu Reeves just isn’t bad ass enough to walk on the mean streets. Forest Whitaker is well cast but again reminds you of his previous movies of this type.

Overall, this film isn’t so bad that I feel justified in writing it off as a complete disappointment. However, the image of the corrupt police force seems to have been rammed down audiences’ throats enough already.


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