Set during the tense times of the LA riots, the film tells the story of Eldon Perry, veteran officer of the Los Angeles Police's special investigation squad as he tutors a new police officer who comes to learn the depth of... more » corruption in his own police department.
"Many people were misled by the original ad campaign for "dark Blue". The trailer for "Dark Blue" tried to showcase the film as a straightforward shoot-'em-up flick, but that's not the case. Many people figured that "Dark Blue" was a film that was slapped together quickly to capitalize on the then-success of "Training Day".... which also isn't the case. For those who actually took the time to go see "Dark Blue" (I was one of those few), they were rewarded with a satisfying, compelling crime drama. Kurt Russell, one of the most outrageously underrated actors in film, gives one of his all-time great performances as a semi-corrupt cop prowling the streets in Los Angeles, circa the Rodney King trial. His balancing act between the cynicism and corruption of his daily life, and the dormant idealism of his youth, is extraordinary to watch. "Dark Blue" is also a return to form for "Bull Durham" director Ron Shelton, who delivers his best movie since "White Men Can't Jump". And there's also some guy called Ving Rhames....I highly recommend "Dark Blue." - ****1/2, rounded up to 5 stars."
A powerful performance by Kurt Russell
Joe Sherry | Minnesota | 06/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A Film by Ron SheltonDark Blue opens with what looks like it is an episode of COPS but turns out to be a police chase that ends up as the Rodney King beating by L.A. cops. The movie then turns to show that the cops involved in the incident are now on trial and there are whispers that if the cops get off (as most expect that the will), the city will erupt. It is with this tension that we are introduced to Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell). Perry is an L.A. detective (plainclothes) and is somewhat of a controversial figure. He does his job, gets the criminals, but his methods are suspect. He follows orders, but uses somewhat excessive force in getting the bad guy. Perry views his job as the good guys (cops) versus the bad guys and that he is justified in using any means necessary in getting the bad guys. Perry has a new partner, a young cop named Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman). Near the beginning of the movie we see Bobby in an internal review on his use of force in a case. Bobby shot a perp and with Perry's testimony he is cleared of all internal charges. The movie is less a pure story driven film than it is a revealing of who Perry is and the situation of the L.A.P.D. during the Rodney King era. There is corruption starting at the top and there are idealistic cops (usually young) and there are some cops like Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames) who are still upstanding men and trying to do the right thing even when the other captains are not. This is a harsh look at the L.A.P.D. at a very heated time with the riots just around the corner (indeed, the Rodney King riots begin during the movie). It is a whole lot better than I could have expected and this has to be one of Kurt Russell's best roles. This is one of the better police movies that you will see and is an under-looked gem of 2002. -Joe Sherry"
A lot of wasted potential here....
L. Quido | Tampa, FL United States | 07/27/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I gave this 3 star film 4 stars, just because of the really terrific effort and performance by the underrated Kurt Russell. Prior to "Dark Blue" I really only thought Russell could do well with comedy -- his Captain Ron is a howl, and he was incredible as an action hero with a light touch ("Snake" in the "Escape From" films).Here he is undermined by the direction of the film. Although he's had a few decent outings, Ron Shelton has not turned in a film worthy to keep him employed since "Bull Durham". Given decent material (story by James Ellroy, screenplay adapted by David Ayer, who did "Training Day") a terrific premise that tied the film into the Rodney King riots, and some decent supporting actors (none of whom was coached into a palatable performance), Ron Shelton made a mediocre movie. His newest, "Hollywood Homicide", is horrible. It's time for producers and film companies to wake up and let Shelton retire from the trade.... Only Russell rises above the direction, and even fine character actor Ving Rhames overacts in his role. Russell has an incredible scene where he's upbraided by his boss and mentor, in front of a rookie cop (Scott Speedman, miscast as a cop)who is his new partner. Just the facial expressions alone give you his seething anger in the face of his hero-worship for the commander. Story lines about Russell's marriage and Speedman's love affair are wasted, but strangely, the movie IS compelling through the final scenes. Russell's cop is probably a caricature of the real "cowboy cops" in LA in those days, but you find yourself believing in him, despite his flaws.Decent DVD production and camera work, but overall, rent the DVD instead of purchasing. If you are a Russell maven, you must have this one for your collection, though!"
Great performance by Kurt Russell
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 07/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A dark, troubled film about a dark, trouble time Dark Blue was inspired by a James Ellroy story (L.A. Confidential) and has all of the twists and turns one would expect from Ellroy. It's an unusual movie for director Ron Shelton to tackle and he does an admirable job with the material.Set during the days before the Rodney King verdict, Dark Blue looks at the loss of innocence of one police officer and the potential redemption of another. The cast is outstanding with Kurt Russell deserving of an Acadmey Award nomination (not likely to happen given how early in the year the film was released and the way MGM promoted it)as L.A.P.D. veteran Eldon Perry. Perry has descended into hell and can't seem to escape its torments. He's become a corrupt individual (somewhat like Denzel Washington in Training Day although, arguably, this is a much better film)who has decided to fight criminals by ignoring the rules.His new, fresh faced partner Bobby Keough (played by Scott Speedman)is Perry's naive, honest and younger doppleganger. Keough is sucked into Perry's world when he must lie during a hearing about a bust where the criminal was killed. The marvelous Brendan Gleeson gives a oily performance as their boss Jack Van Meter . He's playing both sides of the fence and smothered by corruption; he's sold his soul for money using the job to advance his own agenda.Ving Rhames turns in a nicely nuanced performance as Assistant Chief of Police Arthur Holland. Holland knows about the darkness at the heart of the department and Van Meter's role in destroying the integrity of those in blue. He's convinced he can turn around the situation but he has his own skeleton in his closet waiting to undermine his authority. I don't want to go into the nicely detailed plot. It would spoil the film. I should warn you it's a dark story but there's also the chance for redemption for the characters towards the end.The transfer is nice. Strangely, it's a dual sided disc with both pan & scan and widescreen versions of the film. There are three featurettes, a photo gallery and an enlightening commentary by director Ron Shelton."
(In Fact 3.5 Stars) on LA Street; Kurt Russell's Career Best
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 02/07/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Some say "Dark Blue" resembles "The Training Day." That's no wonder, because both films' scripts are from the same person, David Ayer, whose has first-hand knowledge about being street-smart. The difference is, "Dark Blue" has no Denzel Washington. But don't be disappointed, for Kurt Russell, after lamenable turns in "Vanilla Sky" and "3000 Miles to Graceland," gives his career-best performance as Eldon Perry, an LA cop who is so determined to erase the bad that he has become the part of it.The story (originally based on the one by acclaimed writer James Ellroy, the guy behind "L.A. Confidential") has nothing original except one thing (I'm coming back to that). Eldon got a partner, rookie cop (surprisingly good Scott Speedman), and with him he investigates a brutal case of murder at a liquor shop run by a Korean American. But what he finds out leads not to the criminals (about them you see in the opening), but to the corruption of the system of justice.In the meanwhile, a determined assistant police chief (Ving Rhames) is watching for the chance to 'get' Eldon and his boss LAPD chief Brendan Gleeson, both of whom he heartily despises. And there is even a story about love between the two sects....Except for the factor about the 1992 trial about the police and Mr. Rodney King, and its shocking consequences in South Central, LA, the film has nothing new to add the genre. The combination of veteran and rookie can be seen back in these 'Dirty Harry' films, and what Clint Eastwood has done, you see done in "Dark Blue." Though the film manages to show the intense moments (like the re-created riot scenes), what you will see, I am afraid, has already been seen.And the female parts are all less than satisfactory; Lolita Davidovich (director Ron Shelton's wife) is usually good when given a right role, but this time her role is just to suffer and weep as a cop's wife (very typical). The same goes to Michael Michele, who is also the victim of the underwritten role. Having said that, "Dark Blue" has Kurt Russell's powerful performance, which is probably the best in his career so far. Because of his convincing portrait of the cop who treads on the very thin line between the good and evil, and its very credible locale that conveys the feeling of the 'street,' "Dark Blue" remains watchable throughout inspite of its occasionally dull moments."