Street Kings (2008)

I recently rented this action-drama film, assuming that for two hours I would get my money’s worth.  Just by reading the listed actors off of the back of the cover at the movie store I quickly decided that it would be a worth-while flick.  I was right.  Keanu Reeves and Forrest Whitaker take lead in a very insightful movie for law enforcement today.  I give a very high commendation for Chris Evans’ role in this film, a job well done.

 

Shot in Los Angeles’ present day, the film opens with Detective Tom Ludlow (Reeves) going through his every day morning ritual – could possibly be afternoon- wake, load gun, buy liquor, meet up with criminals.  Shortly after being shown as an undercover officer,
Ludlow bursts into a house of criminals in a shoot first-ask questions later manner.  But once he starts “cleaning up” his mess I began to think, ‘great, another crooked cop’.  Placing guns on unarmed suspects and covering his tracks, he’s done this before.  When his Captain enters the scene (Whitaker) he seems to be in cahoots with
Ludlow.  Captain Wander congratulates the detective with a job well done, hugs, smiles, etc.  When he smells the vulgar vodka on
Ludlow’s breath, he sends him to the hospital to avoid the IA (Internal Affairs) and their questions.  Tom Ludlow from outward appearances at first glance is nothing more than a racist, dirty cop.  And it doesn’t help matters that he’s starting trouble with his old partner – a black man and known nark, Detective Washington (Terry Crews).  As tensions rise, Ludlow plans a beat-down with
Washington at a quick-stop but they wind up having a shootout with two gang members instead. As Ludlow takes cover from the bullets,
Washington gets bombarded with shot after shot at point-blank range in an orchestrated murder. 
Ludlow cannot handle having his old partner shot and murdered in front of him as he huddled into a corner. He then begins a rampant search for
Washington’s murderers causing more conflict and chaos in his station, with his buddies and even more importantly with IA.

 

I must say that throughout the entire film I never thought once that the storyline was too far-fetched and wouldn’t happen in real life.  David Ayer did a tremendously first-rate job directing this movie.  His grasp to catch the ordinary and realistic side of the LAPD is just like watching a far less “redneck” version of COPS.  From the settings and language exchanged between officers right down to the cars and criminals on the streets, you are riding shotgun in a real detective’s life.  Although the film lacks nearly all concept of time (besides day and night), you move right along with the day-in day-out feel of the movie. 

 

One thing that was a little tricky for me to understand (which being a blonde doesn’t strike me as odd that it occurred) was the good-bad back and forth game in between the gun happy, alcohol induced fight scenes.  You begin thinking Ludlow is a good cop, then a bad cop, then a good cop, then everyone else is bad and he’s just blind to the truth, then he’s in on it, then the bad guys are good…. UGH!!  It was exhausting trying to pin-point who was good, who was bad – but that made is all the more better of a film.  If a movie doesn’t always keep you guessing or on the edge of your seat, it’s not worth the money to make it or the time to watch it.  If the producers had added even one more twist to the mix however, it would have just been preposterous.

 

I applaud everyone that assisted with the production of this film.  You have given your audience their money’s worth and have created a good name for yourselves.  The actors chosen did a spectacular job and have boosted my confidence in my movie-choosing-technique.  I hope to see more films of this ‘caliber’ from Ayer and wish him the best of luck with future films. On a scale of 1-5, I’d rate this film a 4.7 on a must-see basis.

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