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Set in the Los Angeles Police Department in April 1992, Dark Blue is a dramatic thriller that takes place just days before the acquittal of four white officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King and the subsequent L.A. riots. In this racially-charged climate,the LAPD's elite Special Investigations Squad (SIS) is assigned a high-profile quadruple homicide. As they work the case, veteran detective Eldon Perry, known for his tough street tactics and fiery temper, tutors SIS rookie Bobby Keough in the grim realities of police intimidation and corruption. Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Holland, the only man in the department willing to stand up to the SIS, threatens to end Perry's brand of singlehanded "justice" on the Los Angeles streets. While navigating through the tumultuous neighborhoods of South Central L.A., Perry and Keough must track down cold-blooded killers and face their own demons, which prove to be more ruthless than the criminals they pursue.Written by
This was an original screenplay written by James Ellroy entitled "The Plague Season". It was in development for eight years. One time the film was set up at Universal Pictures. See more »
After Bobby shoots an "innocent" suspect, the gun Eldon handed the suspect to make it look like self defense is clearly seen lying on the ground before him on ground views but not on helicopter views. See more »
Solid cop thriller despite not really getting much from the backdrop
As the trial of the officers accused of beating Rodney King occurs in the background, LA sits on a knife's edge of tension. Meanwhile hard-line cop Eldon Perry celebrates his partner being cleared of operating outside of procedure and the pair go back to work. When they are put on a robbery homicide case all the evidence points to a couple of informants used by Captain Jack Van Meter, however he assures them it wasn't them and tells them to find someone else to pin it on. However Perry's partner Bobby Keough has a change of heart and the cracks start to show as LA bursts into flames.
This film was slightly over-hyped when it came out. I agree that it is a solid cop thriller that rises above recent offerings from the genre but to give it as much praise as it garnered at the time is to give it more than it deserves. The basic plot is on two levels. On the first level the film is about police corruption and sees a corrupt house of cards teetering on the brink of collapse. This bit works well and the cop thriller element works well even if it treads familiar ground. The second level is the background of the Rodney King trial and the LA riots. This aspect is very much wallpaper and I didn't really feel it was necessary for the main narrative to work. At best it complimented the ongoing tensions between community and cops, at worst it distracts from the main thrust.
Russell does give one of his strongest performances in recent years and is not afraid to be an unsympathetic lead character. However the rest of the cast are either not as good or not as well used. Speedman has to carry most of the moral weight of the film and it is clearly too heavy for him and can't do it convincingly. Rhames is simply not used very well and is almost supplementary to requirements. Gleeson is miscast - he is an able actor but the film required him to be a generation older than Perry, in reality they were the same age more or less. Michele is sexy and is reasonably well used for a support character and Kurupt is good even if he is playing the character that he plays daily in his rapper personae.
Overall this was a superior cop thriller that was enjoyable as same. It did a reasonable job looking at the real life issues of corruption in the LAPD but not as well as perhaps other reviews would have led you to believe - it is more a wallpaper or just a theme that is used to prop up the narrative rather than a real good historic look at the time.
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