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Street Kings (2008)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  11 April 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 91,680 users   Metascore: 55/100
Reviews: 186 user | 188 critic | 28 from Metacritic.com

An undercover cop, disillusioned by the recent murder of his wife, is implicated in the murder of an officer and must struggle to clear himself.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Scribble (as Cedric 'The Entertainer' Kyles)
Detective Terrence Washington
Grill (as The Game)
Cle Sloan ...
Quicks (as Noel G.)


LAPD detective Tom Ludlow is a ruthlessly efficient, unorthodox undercover cop. Captain Jack Wander always covers for Tom, as do even his somewhat jealous colleagues. After technically excessive violence against a vicious Korean gang during the liberation of a kidnapped kid sex slave, Tom becomes the target of IA's hotshot, captain James Biggs, who feels passed over after Wander's promotion to chief. Tom's corrupt, disloyal ex-patrol partner Terrence Washington sides with IA but is killed during a shop robbery in Tom's presence. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Their City. Their Rules. No Prisoners.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and pervasive language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

11 April 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

King's X  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$12,469,631 (USA) (11 April 2008)


$26,415,649 (USA) (11 July 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Early in the film, Capt. Wander (Forest Whitaker) instructs two of his officers to return to the station house, which he refers to as 'the barn,' a possible reference to 'The Shield' in which Whitaker had a starring role prior to this film. See more »


When Ludlow is tied up and being shot at by the other cops outside the house in the hills, the red plastic cases of the squibs are clearly visible as they explode around him. See more »


[first lines]
Boss Kim: Yo dawg.
Tom Ludlow: Konnichiwa.
Boss Kim: What?
Tom Ludlow: Konnichiwa. Konnichiwa. It means what's up. So what the fuck's up?
See more »


Followed by Street Kings 2: Motor City (2011) See more »


Written by Hector Lavoe (as Héctor Lavoe) and Willie Colón
Performed by Marc Anthony
Courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment (US Latin) LLC
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

sometimes kind of ridiculous, but it holds the attention and stirs the pot a little
13 April 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I didn't go into Street Kings expecting a masterpiece, and I didn't get one. What I did expect is what I got, more or less: a competently made corrupt cops drama that throws on some heap-loads of stereotypes (not just racially or ethnically but just movie stereotypes, which may possibly be true to form them), and even crazy hysterics. If there is any significant achievement it's in taking the cop movie into such depraved depths it's like looking at a very entertaining infected boil: you know it'll pop any minute, and the pus might just run out a little bit here and there till there's more to squeeze out. There's almost an underlying current of hopelessness that gives the movie some intellectual lift, but at the same time it's such a time-waster that unless you're hardcore fans of the actors it's just about worth a rental.

Keanu Reeves goes from wooden to soggy-bottom wood as a cop who has been doing some dirty tricks to catch the bad guys lately (like setting up two Koreans- who are bad dudes for sure- by having them jack his car and then catching up with them to pop caps in their behinds), and he might be ratted out by his former partner. But when his partner is killed in very conspicuous circumstances, he goes to investigate it further while on a quasi-probation for even being at the scene of the crime (the crime, by the way, has one of the cheesiest "don't die on me" moments I've ever seen, laughably bad in how it's executed, no pun intended). Now, the conclusion shouldn't be at ANY surprise to anyone in the audience who's at least seen ONE other work by James Ellroy, the film's co-writer.

What does give it just a bit of extra lift is the extreme quality of the conclusion, how things seem so ridiculous that in any other hands this would be total nonsense. David Ayer, the director (and writer of Training Day, the perennial new millennium corrupt-cop saga), does have a good handle on the material though, even with ham-bone performance; Forest Whitaker is one of them, sadly, as he basically retreads his persona from The Last King of Scotland as the "King" of the corrupt cops. There is some not too shabby work, like a nearly phoned-in-from-House performance from Hugh Laurie (not unappreciated if you are a House fan), but it's mostly from supporting players like Jay Mohr in odd mustache and Common, the rapper, as one of the 'thugs'. It all kind of blends together as a pulpy orange of a B movie, good for something to not ponder too long over, but not as horrible as you might expect for a genre piece. It's a flavor of the season.

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