The fuzz. The pigs. The rozzers. The police get a bad rap in popular culture, and Street Kings, the new movie from the screenwriter of Training Day, doesn’t exactly make things better for them. Keanu Reeves plays Tom Ludlow, the best gun in his special police squad. OK, so he likes killing people, drinking on the job and being a bit racist, but who doesn’t? When his ex-partner is gunned down, and he’s put in the frame, rumblings of snitching, double-crosses, and generally unsavoury behaviour come out.
As Ludlow looks to hunt down his old pal’s killers, he has to draft in a young cop to help him find the truth, by shooting the absolute hell out of people and property. Here’s a video that shows how, you to, can recreate bloody gunfights in your own home…
The film’s first half drags a little under the weight of a series of unlikeable characters. I know this is meant to be gritty, but there isn’t really anybody to root for one way or the other. They’re all just a bit corrupt and dodgy. Also there’s a period where Ludlow seems to be working through a list of various ethnic gangs picking up one bit of info at a time, in some kind of gang Bingo.
The film’s cast features Forrest Whitaker as Ludlow’s boss in the Vice Special unit, and Hugh Laurie as the man in charge of making sure the cops are playing fair. Their performances are solid, if not up there with their best work. The supporting players are not bad either, with Chris Evans as Reeves’ helper putting in a believable shift.
And once Street Kings’ big twist comes in to play, everything picks up. There’s plenty of action, the pace and impact of the film improves dramatically, and while things do get a little ridiculous towards the end, it’s still an entertaining ride getting there. Street Kings doesn’t quite live up to its billing, but it’s still a thoroughly watchable thriller. Doesn’t fill you with confidence in your local bobby though…
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