Friday, August 15, 2008

Street Kings DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: High-Impact Splatter Flick Arrives on DVD

It’s never a good sign when a movie makes you laugh out loud at dialogue intended to be taken seriously. But this is exactly the reaction elicited by this unintentionally funny, shoot ‘em up loosely based on a crime yarn by James Ellroy.

The story is set in Los Angeles, and revolves around the goings-on inside a trigger-happy police department so crooked that cops don’t think twice before shooting a perp or even a fellow officer about to break the blue wall of silence. For, they can always count on the head of Internal Affairs (Hugh Laurie) to look the other way.

Such is the case with Detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves), an alcoholic widower on the vice squad who considers himself above the law. Drinking heavily since his wife’s murder, he has no qualms about unleashing a torrent of racial epithets in the direction of suspects before blowing them away before planting weapons on their bodies with the help of his boss (Forest Whitaker).

Everything comes to a head the day that Ludlow bumps into his estranged former partner (Terry Crews), at a convenience store just as a couple of machine gun-toting thugs (Common and Cle Shaheed Sloan) are about to rob the place. When the smoke clears, the gangstas have escaped and Washington and the cashier lay dead.

Ludlow’s subsequent quest for the truth uncovers a pattern of corruption all the way to the top of the department. Unfortunately, Street Kings is a disaster for several simple reasons: a preposterous premise, less credible plot twists, too much gratuitous violence, too many ethnic slurs, an absence of likable characters plus another wooden performance from Keanu Reeves.

When you have trouble reading a hero’s motivations at every turn, the result is a comical headscratcher like this unmitigated mess.

Fair (1 stars)

Rated R for graphic violence, ethnic slurs and pervasive profanity.

Running time: 109 minutes

Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD Extras: Commentary by director David Ayer.

To see a trailer for Street Kings, visit:

No comments: