Saturday, April 12, 2008

Movie Review: Street Kings

Movie Review: Street Kings
CS Rating: Keanu fans only

Keanu is back as tough LA Cop, Tom Ludlow, the toughest white boy in Los Angeles. We know he's a bad ass, as in the first 10 minutes of the movie, he gets drunk, kills crims without trial and doesn't give a sh*t about the paperwork.

With a cast that includes 'House's' Hugh Laurie, heavyweight Forest Whitaker and a sprinkling of good actors such as Chris Evans, Jay Mohr and Cedric the Entertainer providing some comic touches to a very dark, moody film, this should be a kick ass movie. The problem? Keanu.

Keanu's character has all the usual flaws; his wife is dead, he drinks too much, he doesn't believe in trials and justice for the scum of LA, all good, but Keanu Reeves never convinced me he was capable of all this. Perhaps it was brilliant casting, the bad cop who's really an Angel deep inside, like his old partner, who Reeves spends most of the movie trying to avenge his death.

This movie reminded me of one of my fave LA films, 'To live and Die in LA'. Like that movie, this movie is as much a homage to the city as it is a homage to the evil men do, who are charged with dealing with evil.

Like 'To Live and Die in LA', there are no 'good guys' or 'bad guys', in fact the only true street criminals come across as inept bystanders compared to the good/bad guys with the badge.

Living in LA, and seeing your city portrayed as a seething hot mess of corrupt cops, from top to bottom, didn't leave me full of hope and the black and white Cop car that passes me as I left the theatre, sent a shiver down my spine.

In that sense you can praise or condemn this movie that has no real moral centre, only shades of gray. With another lead, this could of been a landmark movie like 'To Live and Die', one of those rare movies that doesn't take the viewer on a nice safe ride into crime and delivers him out on the other side feeling all is essentially good in the world.

I didn't mind as Whitaker says, 'We're all bad', what I had a problem with was Reeves lightweight acting. If your not a fan of Reeves (guess what I am) then you will have problems chewing on this movie. What saves it are the efforts of the rest of the cast and some truly jump out of your seat violence.

Rappers The Game and Common give a gang cred to the movie and the great James Ellroy penned the screenplay, all which mix it up to make this movie more than watchable, especially when Reeves is off screen

One for the fans of Reeves or the fans of gritty crime against the palm trees and bright lights of LA.

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