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Movie Review: Street Kings

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Violent, corny, and filled with terrible dialogue, Street Kings gives viewers a large amount of unintentional giggles and even more clichés. It’s a shame it’s this much of a failure, seeing how director David Ayer’s Training Day turned out so well. It’s even more disappointing knowing that James Ellroy, writer of L.A. Confidential, helped write the script to build this disaster. The plot isn’t that difficult to follow at all. About an hour into the film it’s not hard to predict what will happen next.

Keanu Reeves stars as Tom Ludlow, a corrupt LAPD cop who spends his time drinking cute, travel-size bottles of vodka and carrying out the corrupt duties that his Captain, Jack Wande (Forest Whitaker), assigns him. Ludlow goes around killing and having his boss clean up his situations.

This cop is the Rambo of stupid. All Ludlow knows is how to kill – and drink. Reeves does a poor job of portraying an alcoholic thanks to his monotone voice and poor expression. His Captain isn’t so intelligent, either. Whitaker gives us poor, bland acting – that is until he starts yelling, bulging his eyes, and shaking every single flab of fat on his face all at the same time.

Trouble arrives as Ludlow is framed for the murder of his former partner, Terrence Washington (Terry Crews). Ludlow seeks to clear his name by reaching out to a homicide detective who’s been assigned to his case, Paul Diskant (Chris Evans). The two of them work side by side, slapping around random L.A. gang members and asking random questions that somehow lead up to the film’s obvious ending.

Multiple scenes in this film had me laughing extremely loud during the screening unintentionally. For instance, the scene in which Washington gets shot up by two gang members by machine guns was a bit too lengthy. Both of the men shot Washington for about 40 seconds on film while the camera stayed aimed on his bloody, vibrating body. Round after round we watch this overdrawn scene, as it gets bloodier and bloodier.

Dialogue is also laughable because of its B-movie quality. Memorable quotes include, “Blood doesn’t wash away blood,” “You can’t ride the tiger forever,” and my personal favorite, “Time to turn the page and close the book.” Everyone seems so unintelligent in this film.

The Game, Cedric the Entertainer, and Common also appear in Street Kings, and they weren’t all that bad. Although it was odd seeing Common (who is a very open-minded and intelligent rapper) portray the role of a gangster, he fit the position well. The Game did too, but in an extremely annoying way, as every other word he spat was “man.” Cedric’s character in the film delivers some enjoyable comic relief, which isn’t laugh out loud funny, but thankfully isn’t as corny as the rest of the movie.

Street Kings fails overall on being a good gritty cop film. Everyone seemed to be pumping too much testosterone and is a little too trigger-happy. This film is riddled with clichés and poor dialogue. Street Kings is definitely for those who are looking for a bad movie to laugh at or a mindless action flick to view.

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About Kevin Cortez

  • I’ve been reading reviews on this movie and some of them have been favorable, but overall it’s been receiving some pretty crappy reviews..I think http://www.nypost.com hit the nail on the head with their review in their entertainment news section when they explain how Reeves role requires him to play the dumbest guy on the planet and he was pretty much born for the role. Why is he still in movies by the way? Don’t get me wrong, I loved The Matrix and Speed, but the guy can’t act and the writers were the only reason why those movies were any good.

  • “It’s a shame it’s this much of a failure, seeing how director David Ayer’s Training Day turned out so well.”

    It should be noted that Ayer directed Street Kings, but only wrote Training Day. Perhaps if he scripted this one, it would have been better? In addition to TD, he did fine scripts for Dark Blue and Harsh Times (which he also directed to better effect).

    It should also be noted that the script for Street Kings, while partially credited to Ellroy (not sure what his involvement level was), was in the hands of first time feature writer Jamie Moss and Kurt Wimmer, who has done good work in the past(Equilibirum, The Recruit, Thomas Crown Affair), but this is his first since Ultraviolet (and we all know how good that was, even though I enjoyed the movie, it was not particularly good on any level).

    I am still working out where I fall on the film, although I will say that I was generally entertained and it was overplotted and underwritten.

  • CP

    That may because you dont really know what goes on in the city.
    I’ve known people like that all my life.
    People who are real mosters and police who are just as bad.
    Maybe its a bit over the top, but its a true representation of the streets of chicago.