Gripping performances by Keanu Reeves, Academy AwardÂ(r) Winner Forest Whitaker* and an all-star supporting cast power this action-packed crime thriller, in which a veteran cop finds himself ensnared in a deadly web of con... more »spiracy and betrayal. Reeves stars as Tom Ludlow, a hard-nosed detective with a talent for delivering brutal street justice. When evidence implicates him in the murder of a fellow officer, the violence around Ludlow explodes as he realizes his own life is in danger and he can trust no one.« less
Greg T. from PALM SPRINGS, CA Reviewed on 9/22/2011...
Decent "Police vs. the World" actioneer.
Kind of a mix of "Training Day", "Harsh
Times" and "Internal Affairs"
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Kathy T. from WINAMAC, IN Reviewed on 12/11/2010...
This movie was so-so..didn't keep my interest very long.
0 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Marleen M. from WHEELING, WV Reviewed on 9/12/2009...
Keanu Reeves is at his best. Exciting yet hard to watch...my son really enjoyed it.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sarah F. (keanupattinson) from INDIANAPOLIS, IN Reviewed on 7/8/2009...
I really liked this movie. Keanu Reeves was really good, I think this was one of the best movies of his career. Good cop v. Bad cop type of storyline.
Worth looking into.
Be warned there is a ton of language.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Sandra S. (ratracesandra) from CUMMING, GA Reviewed on 2/21/2009...
Full of action and shootings. Hard for me to watch at times, but the movie was really for my husband and he enjoyed the story line. If you like police stories, then you should like this one. It's a good cop v. bad cop story.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Exciting police drama
Kelley Hunt | Texas, USA | 04/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Keanu Reeves has come a long way as an actor. If you watch his early films you can see how he struggles to make his emotions authentic, without always succeeding. I think this was a break-through film for him. He is very believable as Tom Ludlow the soused "street fighter" cop who bends and breaks rules to get the job done. Whether he is romancing his gal, grieving over a dead cop, or exploding with rage - the emotions feel "real". And he is even more handsome than he was in his youth. This was an exciting film from start to finish. There is not one dull moment where your mind begins to wander. The soundtrack was excellent- a menacing heartbeat that always forewarns us of dangers to come. The beautifully done cinematography included vivid colors, wrenching close-ups and sweeping panoramas of L.A. Great work! I think it is too bad that so many movie critics gave this one luke-warm reviews because "Street Kings" is a good film worth seeing. I know I will be eagerly awaiting the dvd release."
Leave the lights off for this part of the police world
Judy K. Polhemus | LA | 10/05/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Street Kings"--James Ellroy--deepest corruption, unrelenting violence, hidden acts, provocative coverups--this is a world that Joe and Julia Citizen will never see. The average citizen might assume corruption in police departments, but will never ever guess its extent as "Street Kings" shows.
Governmental and military black ops are kept secret with no written records in efforts to make a dent on destroying evil (philosophically speaking) in the large world. "Street Kings," through the pen of James Ellroy and the direction of David Ayer, exposes a layer of police work that parallels that of black ops. Written records are required in this case but highly filtered and altered.
Keanu Reeves is a surprising choice as Tom Ludlow, police op extraordinaire, but quite convincing as the take-no-prisoners kind of guy--one of the Street Kings of the police underworld. However, his work eliminating evil is protected by his boss, played his usual soft-spoken way by Forest Whitaker, the king of the Street Kings. Perhaps not playing his role viciously took the onus off his character's ultimate revelation.
Once the first scene rolled with its explicit violence and the take-down by death of vicious thugs, the tone of the film is set. Tom Ludlow shows his mettle and his job--ridding the world of dark evils. At a group gathering of police ops for ritual drinks, Ludlow again shows his nature--roiling underneath a seemingly calm exterior, willing to act NOW, and barely containable by his boss, Whitaker's character.
On the other hand, Whitaker shows his hail-fellow-well-met persona, appreciative of Ludlow's work to enhance his own political inside clawing to the top. By movie's end, we see just what Whitaker's character truly wants.
The plot becomes quite complex with the addition of two men--Hugh Laurie as Internal Affairs and Ludlow's former partner who decides to go to IA. More murder, more mayhem. Through it all, believe it or not, Ludlow remains true to himself and to his necessary role in the police underworld.
The film's conclusion is a shocker. I never guessed the depth of the police underworld and what our guardians of the streets would do for public safety and their own protection. Is this just a movie based on a book for entertainment value, or does the movie show truth filtered through fiction?
Entertaining Modern Update to LA Confidential
Senor Zoidbergo | Washington D.C. | 08/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was intrigued when I heard that writer James Ellroy, of LA Confidential fame, was attached to this movie. Street Kings plays like a modern version of LA Confidential, albeit much darker and more cynical.
You have similar parallels to the original LA Confidential. Chris Evans of Fantastic Four fame, plays Detective Paul Diskant, more akin to the idealistic Guy Pearce. Keanu Reeves, no introduction needed, plays the bruiser type with an honest heart- more along the lines of Russell Crowe's Bud White. Lastly, Forrest Whittaker gives an entertaining performance as the politically savvy and corrupt vice squad captain, much like James Cromwell's Captain Dudley Smith.
Keanu put on some weight for the movie, I found his performance fine. He's often criticized for being too wooden, but I didn't notice anything that detracted from his performance. It's a genre movie, so certain plot points are predictable, yet I was also pleasantly surprised by a few twists.
If you liked LA Confidential, and are looking for the modern update, then look no further."
3 ˝ Stars: Once You Open your Eyes...
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 08/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"STREET KINGS is the latest police thriller by director David Ayer, responsible for other police thrillers such as "Training Day" and "Dark Blue". Police corruption has been the main theme for most police dramas, and this film is no different. The screenplay by James Elroy is full of intrigue and bleakness that delves into the dark side of the LAPD.
Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is a cop on the edge, an alcoholic and would stoop to the most extreme measures to solve a crime; usually his suspects turn out dead. He does get the job done though, and is favored by his commanding officer, Captain Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker). As a result, Tom's past sins have been covered up for years, he works tightly in a special unit and his existence is a melting pot of violence and death. One day, his former partner (Terry Crews) becomes an informant for Internal Affairs, is killed in a convenience store shooting. The incident had awakened some "intestinal fortitude" in Tom, and now he must find those responsible along with a young detective (Chris Evans). Little do they know that they are opening up a huge can of worms.
"Street Kings" does have all the elements I like in a cop film; it's gritty, very violent and fast-paced. The film isn't going to be recognized for originality, it has all the usual formulas we've all seen before; corrupt authority figures and the hunger for money and power. The film does do one thing right and it does convince the audience that it is worth watching. The heavy and mean dialogue combined with gunfights which are quite bloody and full of intensity, it has all the qualities of a film that any male movie fan would love. The director understands what he has set out to do, and he has structured the film to move as pure adrenaline as it goes through the insides and outs of the LAPD. The film is full of detail as to how and why the corruption is inherent in the "cop system".
The screenplay plays a bit like a morality play as hotshot cop; Tom Ludlow goes through the workings of evidence tampering and cover ups. Tom's character is a man who barely sees injustice due to the things he has seen; his phrase "Bad creates more Bad" actually sums up his bleak view of his world. The script is full of "bad language" that it sometimes makes Tom's use of complex terms a little out of place. Keanu Reeves is a decent actor in my book, but I did somehow see his limits with this role.
The film does have a complex plot and is quite intense, and this is where the problems begin. The film needed to breathe at times and relax and let all its complexities settle in. The unraveling of its main twist in the third act seemed a little too `cardboard' that seemed to fail its maze of intrigue and controversy in the film's set up. The film made a compelling point when it made the darkness of the police system come full circle, with a lot of paranoia and mistrust that suggested a strong clever resolution to all the mayhem. I expected something more than a climax full of cliché that is quite familiar in action films. Forest Whitaker's final speech seemed a little too melodramatic that the film's primary set up just didn't match up.
It would be really difficult to express as to why I would say "Street Kings" is a good film because honestly, it did have a lot of faults. Some parts of the investigation seemed a little too convenient and too easy, while the final act seemed to lose much of its forward momentum when it proved less than stimulating as I've hoped for. However, I did enjoy "STREET KINGS"; it's full of attitude and the sharp-tongued dialogue did convince me to look beyond its holes. Director Ayer knew the film's limits and knew exactly what he needed to do in order to hide its flaws. It does provide an exciting ride while seeing through the eyes of a burned-out cop. The film is cleverly paced, and its action and grittiness will definitely see you enjoying its tough-guy thrills with a lot of bloodshed and body count.
Recommended! [3 ½ Stars]
Good copper movie.
Ignacio Litardo | Capital, Buenos Aires, Argentina | 05/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like the genre, this product won't disappoint you.
The plot is convoluted enough for me to try to give you an idea. It bears some resemblance to Ellroy's "LA Confidential" of course, but SK is more messy.
I laughed on how "American values" this film is. They show Detective Tom drinking so often one has to think "he's an alcoholic". His chief, who knows he kills lawlessly, criticizes him for this "vice". But we saw Ludlow rescuing those underage hostages. Then "he's good". How come, is he bad or good? Can he be both? And they pay script writers for this "moral dilemma" ... :).
I would have liked Naomie Harris to play the "female beauty". Martha Hilgareda is OK anyway.
I expected some great lines like in Training day. I know this by heart: "Jake Hoyt: Its not so fun when the rabbit has a gun. Or Alonzo Harris: It's not what you know, it's what you can prove". Or the best: "Alonzo: You gotta see the streets. You gotta feel it. You gotta smell it, you gotta taste the streets. How's your Espanol?"
Slang is all around anyway. Hard to twig if English is not your mother language, but anyway, you get the meaning . Overall, I liked this movie. It may not last in your memory more than weed, but ...
PS: Real time cop Daryl Gates' presence steals the show."