LAPD detective Tom Ludlow is a ruthlessly efficient, unorthodox undercover cop. Captain Jack Wander always covers for Ludlow, as do even his somewhat jealous colleagues. After technically excessive violence against a vicious Korean gang during the liberation of kidnapped child sex slaves, Ludlow becomes the target of hotshot Internal Affairs captain James Biggs, who feels passed over after Wander's promotion to chief. Ludlow's ex-patrol partner, Terrence Washington, sides with IA but is killed during a shop robbery in Ludlow's presence. Ludlow works his way through the twisted rungs of the police and the deadly streets of Los Angeles for answers that lead to more and more questions.Written by
KGF Vissers (TC edit)
When Ludlow and Wander fight in the end the handcuff that is placed on the railing changes positions after the initial "lock up." The handcuff moves one section down the railing and is closed tighter. See more »
This Is Los Angeles
Written by Ice Cube, WC (as William Calhoun) and Jelly Roll (as David Drew)
Performed by WC (as W.C.)
Courtesy of Lench Mob Records See more »
sometimes kind of ridiculous, but it holds the attention and stirs the pot a little
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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