This movie just popped up outta nowhere, real random-like. I like random, so I figured, why not? Street Kings looks like your typical cops vs. bad guys shoot ‘em up, and that’s pretty much what it was. It was a little smarter than your typical variation, so I must admit I was pleasantly entertained by this gritty depiction of the unabashedly corrupt LAPD.
Street Kings stars Keanu Reeves (The Lake House) as Detective Tom Ludlow and Forest Whitaker (Vantage Point) as Captain Jack Wander. The opening scene sets the tone of the movie, as we see Ludlow abandoning the 4th amendment to nab some particularly nasty bad guys. He’s like a one-man wrecking crew, and it earns him the respect of Captain Wander, his mentor and protector in the department. Keanu Reeves is alright with me, I just think he always sounds like a surfer dude. He has an unwavering deadpan delivery. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I thought he was serviceable as Detective Ludlow. His delivery lent authenticity to some of his character’s personality traits, particularly Ludlow’s naiveté to the widespread, far-reaching corruption in the department. Another thing I liked about the movie was that the director (or cinematographer, whoever) made the City of Angels appear very dark and ominous – the atmosphere was tense, which I think is a marked departure from the way L.A. usually is portrayed in film. David Ayers (the director) has written, directed, or produced several movies set in L.A., and his familiarity with the setting was an asset to the movie. He has a knack for showing the city’s underbelly, which made the movie better than I thought it would be.
Street Kings was worthwhile, nothing you’ll rave about to your friends, but certainly worth checking out. If you get past the violence and profanity (rated R, no doubt), there are some good performances from Whitaker (of course) and Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) as a straight-laced detective who teams up with Ludlow. A strong 7 out of 10.