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Street Kings More at IMDbPro »

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Street Wings

Author: Chrysanthepop from Fraggle Rock
14 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Some movies can still be entertaining and engaging even when predictable but for other films, it just does not work. Copper thriller 'Street Kings' is one such movie. I enjoy cop thrillers like 'Training Day' where the events gradually unfolds until the intention is revealed. Here the element of surprise is well built but at the same time it makes sense to the story. 'Street Kings' lacks that. It is the simple and obvious clues that give away the plot. For example, it was quite clear who the two gangsters were and why Wander was so overprotective of Tom. Moreover, the movie really drags and some of the twists are far fetched, e.g. Biggs's plans and motivation which are revealed in the end. Keanu Reeves mechanically plays his part wearing only one expression throughout the entire film. Forest Whittaker has his moments of overacting but he is suitably frightening in his last scene. Hugh Laurie does nothing to boast of. 'Street Kings' does not have much working for it and is pretty much forgettable.

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Reeves & Whitaker rule in this picture

Author: tristenlake from United States
5 April 2009

Keanu Reeves gives one of his best performances yet; his rapport with Forest Whitaker is powerful and intense. As written, these are not the best parts either have acted, but both actors rise far above the material in their interpretation.

There is not much for me to complain about in this film, except maybe for the very first sound effect in the first scene, which reminded me rather too jarringly of a certain other Reeves film.

Still trying to figure out why this film was panned by critics. Like "Pride & Glory" which came out a little later in 2008, the plot & dialog are solid, and the performances excellent all around. The best explanation I can think of for the negative reviews, applicable to both films, is that there is not much exposition--one must pay attention to the action and and dialog, so maybe hoi polloi just couldn't keep up with the plot. Maybe everyone has their own idea of how police work or drug trafficking are supposed to be portrayed. I expect some people were offended by the blatant and unapologetic ethnic slurs, particular as directed toward various Asian nationalities. This is probably its worst flaw, along with a lack of well-developed female characters. Well, one can't have everything -- every story or production or editing process has its exigencies.

Never mind all that, this movie kicks butt from start to finish. See it.

(And why all the bashing of Keanu Reeves by viewers & critics for the past 20 years? I don't get it. If you don't like Keanu Reeves, then you probably won't like this movie either.)

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Not as good as you'd expect

Author: john_minty from United Kingdom
16 March 2009

Glancing at the cast list for 'Street Kings', which between them have gained an Oscar, a BAFTA and two Golden Globes it is difficult not to expect something great from David Ayer's second directorial feature. Those however who do expect something (like myself) are due to be bitterly disappointed.

'Street Kings' tells the story of LAPD detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves). He is a burnt-out cop, an alcoholic who is a bit of a renegade yet still gets results. Our anti-hero is joined by his boss Captain Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker) who main job appears to be to keep Ludlow on-the-rails. This already clichéd plot is enhanced by the murder of Ludlow's former partner Terrence Washington (Terry Crews) and thus leads Ludlow on a path to find his killers and exact vengeance. If this plot sounds somewhat familiar to you it probably is, the narrative is entirely unoriginal and lacking any kind of substance, it feels like you've seen it all before. It is disappointing to say the least as the cast do the best they can with a decidedly average script. The aforementioned Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker play their parts very well but the actor that stood out for me was Chris Evans, who gave a solid performance as Paul Diskant, an officer who helps Ludlow. Formerly of 'Sunshine' and 'Fantastic Four' fame he steps up to the mark and outshines the rest of the cast, which includes Hugh Laurie, whose almost cameo role must have been cast to pull in the audience as he really doesn't suit his character or the lines he is given. After a relatively fast tempo, interesting opening, 'Street Kings' dissolves into a forgettable film which despite being gritty in places fails to hold the audience. The action scenes are handled well, especially the shooting and chase sequences but are nothing that hasn't been done better before. The grittiness of the film is probably its best point, made even more apparent by the total lack of humour Ayer decided to include - usually encompassed in this genre of film, a little humour goes a long way but the absence of it made the character's supposedly solid relationships unbelievable and false. The camera-work does complement the urban nature of the film; the shaky hand-held, constantly moving camera keeps the scenes uncomfortable and realistic.

'Street Kings' is not without its merits, namely the performances from some of the cast and the way it is shot but the unlikeable characters and predictable, unoriginal narrative will put many off. Fans of Ayer's previous written work 'Training Day' may well be in for a treat though, as his latest effort bears striking resemblance to his 2001 hit, but others, especially those looking for something a little more meaty should stick well clear and try a detective drama with a little more bite, such as the classic 'LA Confidential' or more recently, 'Gone baby, gone'.

5 out of 10

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Crime Story……With Less Impact

Author: Debjyoti (DJ) from India
16 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Street Kings' is a typical story of Cops using alternate methods to fight the crime. Result... some of the schemes does not look ethical. We are introduced to our main cast Tom Ludlow (played by Keanu Reeves) an old hand LAPD, who is haunted by his past, is questioned when one of his mate Washington (enacted by Terry Crews) gets massacred which seems to be a regular shoot out case. Circumstantial evidences leads Ludlow as the suspect. Though initially this case looked usual, further inquiry takes us deep into the world of corruption and manipulation of evidences to hide some grimy truth. This movie portrays how Ludlow questions his loyalty towards his unit who seemed to be behind the murder of his friend & how he ultimately deals with it.

Reeves' role as Ludlow was believable but not great. Though the movie initially starts with a pace, in between it seemed a little bit exhausted. I will not grumble that I got jaded with the movie but on the other hand this movie could have been more exhilarating, if we had the chance to see some character development. None of the characters were well explored. This is no 'L.A. Confidential' which had if truth be told had given us a hell of ride.

'Street Kings' is stand alone in its own way, but fails to give an everlasting impact.

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How can you shoot a guy taking a dump? I mean, seriously, that's sacred.

Author: lastliberal from United States
14 March 2009

The bona fides say this is supposed to be a solid cop movie. Directed by David Ayer, who wrote S.W.A.T., Training Day, and Dark Blue. Screenplay by James Ellroy, who wrote dark Blue with Ayer and L.A. Confidential; and Kurt Wimmer, who penned The Recruit, Equilibrium, and The Thomas Crown Affair. A cast that includes Forest Whitaker and Hugh Laurie, among others. It has all the elements for a great movie.

Maybe having Keanu Reeves on point is a weakness, but those that don't like him will take satisfaction that he gets his ass kicked early and well. Me, I'm ambivalent, as I did like him in The Devil's Advocate and Speed, but they were a long time ago and I don't think he has matched those performances.

Everybody tries to protect Reeves when his partner is killed, but he just won't let things go. Then they go after him.

At the end of it, Reeves and Whitaker made this movie worth watching.

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Like a sequel to Training Day

Author: j_jefferson55 from United States
13 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Street Kings is a very enjoyable movie. I must say, though, that it seems like a sequel to the movie Training Day. A few examples: the central theme in both movies is police corruption, they both take place in L.A., and the lead characters in both movies are undercover cops.

Also, the two movies have similar scenes, such as when Keanu Reeves' character instructs a character to go "fetch" a suspect (think back to training Day when Denzel Washington tells Ethan Hawk to do the same thing) in the ghetto, and when Keanu Reeves breaks into the Korean's house and kills them all, even the unarmed suspects, and makes it seem like justifiable homicide (think back in training day when Denzel does the same thing to Roger for the money).

Still, this is a good movie. Keanu Reeves did a great job as the lead. His character is the lone officer in his division with scruples (although he does his share of dirt throughout the movie) after his ex-partner gets gunned down right in front of him. And the plot takes off from there.

Finally, this is a worthwhile movie, especially if you like movies involving corrupt cops. Very gritty and graphic.

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I've watched 20 something movies this week

Author: Nick Damian from Toronto, Ontario
21 February 2009

...and this is one of the best.

Keanu Reeves does a pretty decent job with his role. He even give sit some spark.

This is a good story, a gritty story about corruption on the Police force...and as everybody is well aware, it happens.

I'm sure that lots of this is true as to what happens.

I enjoyed this movie, I feel it was written good and even parts of it were funny.

It made good sense and was solid from start to finish with a good cast and nice story till the very end.

As always, Forest plays his characters really well, but he was shortchanged a touch on this with his screen time...overall pretty decent.

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Cool cop movie

Author: lndkramer from United States
18 February 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I actually enjoyed Street Kings because I'm really into cop movies but I didn't expect there to be ONLY cops in the movie. Not really any gangsters or criminals. Just cops fighting each other. Forrest Whitaker was great but Keanu Reeves pulled his normal routine and showed no emotion. I understand that his role was supposed to be cold and ruthless, but I just couldn't get into his character. All I keep seeing is Keanu Reeves, an actor just reading off lines. I still can't figure out how he gets so much work. I actually liked Chris Evans better than I liked him. Hugh Laurie was also really good, and as always you would never know he's English. Common was in the movie for about five or ten minutes, and we were of course expecting him to play a bigger part just because of the ads. But all in all Street Kings is a cool movie, with a cool story, and some good characters. Not a lot of physical action, but still keeps you pretty interested.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Bad movie

Author: jusdiz2 ( from Lithuania
20 July 2015

This is a bad movie, I did not like it. Why I have watched it? First, I have seen David Ayers "Harsh Times" and I expected something harsh too. I did not get it. Keanu Reeves trying to look harsh, he fails. Forest Whitaker is not harsh, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans - they are not harsh too. But this is not the main problem.

The main problem is that I did not care about a main character Tom Ludlow. He is stupid, he makes stupid mistakes and he makes other people around him to behave stupid. I think I care more if the movie would be about how his wife died or about detective Terrence Washington and his wife. This story is about how about corrupt police officer Tom Ludlow starts to think and doubt about what he is doing, and everybody around him starts to die, and he kills some men too. He is not a hero, he doesn't know what he wants.

So this is not a movie on which the director - David Ayer makes his choices, this is bad Hollywood movie. If you want to see really good action crime drama go see "Harsh Times" and "Training Day".

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Fantastic

Author: ( from United Kingdom
26 April 2011

A film of the highest quality. Not for for storyline but for film making. This is probably enhanced by the fact there are broad range of top actors in the film- this can sometimes go wrong but here it goes well. Forest Whitaker puts in a performance that is out of this world. I always thought Denzel Washington was the best black actor of all time (which he is) but the more of Whitaker i watch- i realise he has truly great qualities. But overall the film is fast paced, intriguing and well worth a watch. Although after fully thinking through there are some questions about storyline but that makes the film great. It isn't stuck on a course.

As a Kiefer Sutherland fan also; i recommend ' Last Light ' which contains Forest Whitaker.

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