Street Kings

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Street Kings
What happens when one of America’s finest living writers teams up with one of  its most laughable? James Ellroy’s mastery of the crime genre is by now indisputable. Kurt Wimmer is the creative force behind sci-fi underachiever ‘Equilibrium’. When they met it was… mediocre.
Numerous well- worn Ellroy themes crop up as Keanu Reeves’ morally ambiguous cop investigates the murder of his treacherous former partner, presided over by Forest Whitaker’s paternalistic but shadowy captain. Director Ayer’s stated aim was a police procedural free of the usual stereotypes, but every aspect of this production is riddled with the worst kinds of cliché. For British viewers, the sight of Hugh Laurie cursing a blue streak still has a certain undeniable charm. And as the plot contrivances pile up and the bodycount spirals the film threatens to tip into outright pastiche, transforming a commonplace thriller into a low rent camp classic. But sadly this never happens – Ayer’s grip on his abysmal material is too sure, and what could have been endearingly daft remains merely forgettable.

By: Tom Huddleston


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday April 18 2008
Duration: 107 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Ayer
Screenwriter: James Ellroy, Kurt Wimmer, Jamie Moss
Cast: Keanu Reeves
Forest Whitaker
Hugh Laurie
Chris Evans
Cedric the Entertainer
Jay Mohr
Terry Crews
Naomie Harris
The Game

Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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Better on 2nd looks very good on dvd, saw it at the cinema and it was a bit generic, and is similar to many other cop thrillers of recent years - 'We Own The Night' and 'Pride and Glory' spring to mind. But the action scenes are really well done and violent, Hugh Lawrie a welcome sight and its not too long. Worth a rent at least.

I watched this last night and was - overall - entertained. The plot has a departed style "lets shoot everyone" theme but regardless as a hard boiled cop keanu delivers - looking just the right side of bloated and downtrodden. I thought the movie was pretty much a chracter piece for keanu with everyone else as peripherals to the story - and it focuses on his flawed attempt at redemption. I thought there were some great performances and good dialogue - as you would expect from ellroy - but as with most cop/action movies cliche was inevitable. I rate it 6.5/10.

liked it. good action, good storyline, Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker are incredible.

hanna must see the movie with some fit men -keanu is a fit talented copper -i think women like uniforms -lolz

Despite what time out scored this film and other reviews, I went on friday night with some mates no knowing what to expect as nothing else decent was on. Great action scenes with a good line up of actors, we all thought it was a good film...tho slightly confusing at points. Finally like the Mustang!

Absoloutely unbearable. Its not that its technically poor, or that one small thing annoys me, its just that its so incredibly boring. I left about 10 minutes from the end. Your probably thinking why didnt i want to see what happens. My answer? I didnt care

david ayers in some ways has completed a trilogy of sorts,set in the purgatory of downtomn LA , with training day ,HARSH TIMES and now this rather provocative ,confrontational piece, where the characters all are driven by the lust for power ,right or wrong is only trivial-what prevails is whether you can survive and get away ,that is precisely why whitakers character is both powerful yet flawed as he cannot commit to his ideology and beliefs , tom -keanu reeves-defines a raw brutality which is born out of corrupt injustice and effete judiciary. as for keanu he is absolutely superb as the loner ,bitter widower and in some ways desperately tender white man ,who is not afraid to be labelled as WHITE ,In the current world that tenacity to being a racial prototype can be a strength of character , he defines a whimsical disturbed ,methodical man who wakes to an alarm clock and goes directly for his handgun and then for a swig of vodka,his mid-day alcoholic binges is casual but so are the racial taunts he and his handyman endure as white boys , the gratuitious violence is staged well, as in HARSH TIMES ,the sex slave trade in los angeles is sensitively targeted and filty dirty cops rule the roost . keanu-ayers make this a palpably fearsome frolic with dead corpses litterring the streets ,toilets and the hills, the california sun drenches it all in a bloody haze with the downtown ghettos and the chase on foot through domestic latino quarter is brilliant . the 2 wommen ,one a widow and the other toms lover are rudimentary but good ,this is a bad world and as tom says bad only breeds bad in reality .while harsh time was about damaged and lost american youth secondary to the immoral iraqi intervention .this is about home ground and the fact that to eliminate evil ,you have to employ risque tactics bordering onto mendacious immorality-true but who is to decide who is evil and what defines good ,ayers debates this with kanu himself on the borderline as he looks sceptical throughout and disappointed by a sysyem ,which has failed both the public and his individual life ,but tom is a tenacious character and he survives -keanu has matured and grown in the years since the bullock romcom and here he looks delivers ,whitaker has PTOSIS IN HIS LEFT EYE and it distracts , and his pleadings with tom are rather infantile . the manhunt is very interesting and also quite harrowing with automatic weapon grillings turning victims into turkey shoot ,but it is violence with a purpose and mr ayers has delivered again , this is not in the league with l.a confidential or HARSH TIMES ,BUT IT DOES HAVE AN ENERGY ,it is rather perfunctory ,primitive and inconclusive and leaves a lot of questions unanswered but it is thought-provoking and ayers is one of the better directors who can deliver in the context of socio-political thriller dramas , yes it is flawed but less so then DEPARTED .there is an almost perverse but humourous episode about racial complaints as tom is assigned to internal affairs -is it surprising it evokes mention of rodney king and almost all complainants are black . a rather disturbing look at the melting pot that is america today ,struggling with its own demons in the backdrop of a lost war with looming economic disaster . this is a consummate caper with political overtones but ayers has delivered stylishly with a very convincing keanu reeves .