Street Kings

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/04/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 109 mins

Watchable thriller with a surprisingly good performance from Keanu, although the plot isn't nearly as clever as it thinks it is.

What's it all about?
Based on a story by James Ellroy (who co-wrote the screenplay), Street Kings stars Keanu Reeves as Detective Tom Ludlow, a member of an elite LA vice squad under the protective wing of Captain Wander (Forrest Whittaker). Unable to get over the death of his wife, Ludlow throws himself into his work, risking his life and breaking several rules (like shooting unarmed criminals) to get the job done.

However, when an internal affairs captain (Hugh Laurie) starts sniffing around after his latest bust, Ludlow finds himself under suspicion, which only intensifies when evidence implicates him in the shooting of his former partner (Terry Crews). In order to clear his name, Ludlow teams up with a young homicide cop (Chris Evans) to find the real killers and eventually finds that he has to confront the corrupt cop culture that surrounds his career.

The Good
Keanu is surprisingly good as Ludlow, delivering a rough-edged performance that holds our attention throughout, despite the fact that he's essentially a dirty cop (unsurprisingly, the film owes a debt to TV's The Shield). There's also terrific support from Whittaker, Laurie and Evans, while Jay Mohr, Amaury Nolasco and John Corbett provide colourful, if under-used back-up as the other vice squad members.

The film is impressively shot and director David Ayers (Training Day) orchestrates some superb sequences, including a great chase scene and some thrilling shoot-outs.

The Bad
However, the script isn't nearly as clever as it thinks it is, as anyone who's ever seen a thriller before will spot the twist almost immediately. In fact, it's so blatantly obvious that you get annoyed with Keanu for taking so long to work it out. In addition, there's something slightly dodgy about the film's shoot-first, ask-questions-later approach that doesn't sit well, particularly towards the end.

Worth seeing?
Street Kings is a perfectly watchable thriller, providing you don't think too much about it afterwards.

Film Trailer

Street Kings
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Content updated: 28/02/2020 03:18

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