Street Kings (2008)

Street Kings
Director: David Ayer
Writer: James EllroyKurt WimmerJamie Moss
Cast: Keanu ReevesForest WhitakerHugh LaurieChris EvansCedric the EntertainerJay MohrTerry CrewsNaomie HarrisCommonGameMartha Higareda
Seen on: 18.10.2017

Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is an undercover cop. He is successful, but he rarely sticks to the law. Neither does his superior, Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker), which is how Tom got away with it for years. But now Internal Affairs in the form of James Biggs (Hugh Laurie) have started to investigate, just as Ludlow’s colleague Terrence Washington (Terry Crews) has espressed doubts about Ludlow and his methods. It doesn’t take long for things to go from bad to worse for Ludlow.

Street Kings is an utterly grueling film, and not in a good way at all. While the cast promises much, the script doesn’t deliver and what you get is a boring film filled with unlikeable characters.

I really do like Keanu Reeves, but honestly, the dude can’t play everything and he doesn’t cut it for the role here. That’s probably only partly his fault, because I don’t see even the best actor in the world making much of the role as it was written. Or of any of the roles, actually.

The script does quick work to show us that all cops are bastards. A sentiment I would tend to agree with, but unfortunately the script then also expects us, for some reason, to root for those bastards or to be interested in what happens to them – and what happens to them is not them being brought to justice and the police force abandoned to be replaced with an uncorrupt civil service force, so why should I care?

Plus the film constantly toes the line to being outright racist and probably crosses over a few times as well. Ludlow is definitely a racist and the film certainly doesn’t enough to make that an issue. And it’s also sexist as fuck, relegating women to the roles of the victimized and tragic wives (when it features them at all).

Altogether it’s a strange film and definitely not in a good way. It doesn’t seem to know what it wants and it certainly doesn’t know what it’s doing. And I don’t know why anyone should watch it.

Summarizing: Stay away.

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