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Street Kings
Review written on: April 14th, 2008

Street Kings Review

I haven’t really been too big on Keanu Reeves’ choice of roles over the last few years. I know that I’ll probably get a ton of flack for saying this, but I hated The Matrix . I saw it with a friend when it came out on DVD, and it didn’t do it for me. Friends also got me to see The Matrix Revolutions, saying that I should give it another chance. What did I think of that? I hated it, too. This wasn’t the Keanu I was a fan of!

Reeves is obviously extremely talented, but, as so many actors do, he gets roles that are simply not worthy of what we know he’s capable of. The same could be said about Forest Whitaker. Whitaker nabbed a Best Actor Oscar last year, but here, he’s moved into a role that, to me, diminishes such a major career accomplishment. So, how could bad roles happen to such great actors? My review of this film may provide some answers.

Tom Ludlow (Reeves) is a Los Angeles vice cop who routinely uses, how shall I put this, non-traditional methods of confronting suspects. Where to begin? He swigs vodka and then drives on those insane L.A. streets, gets into physical fights with criminals, and goes and shoots up places he’s staking out! All in a day?s work, I guess!

When Ludlow has a very public feud with his former partner Terrence Washington (Terry Crews), everybody in the squad thinks that Washington is on the take and subsequently giving info to Internal Affairs about some of the insubordination that has been going on. The kicker is that all of it is indeed getting swept under the rug, thanks to Captain Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker). Throughout the movie, you see that he constantly puts his nose where it doesn?t belong and covers the actions of the ones who are supposed to be enforcing the law, not breaking it.

Captain Biggs (Hugh Laurie) is the head of Internal Affairs, and he?s trying to get to the bottom of the whole thing, but it?s unclear if he is in on the plot or just a puppet. Anyway, when Washington is targeted by thugs, and subsequently killed while in a heated discussion with Ludlow, Ludlow has to unravel the whole mess! Teaming up with another member of Internal Affairs (Chris Evans) who is equally suspicious of the entire situation, they further extend their usage of unorthodox investigation ploys and their clout as a means to expose it all.

To quickly sum it up: One cop thinks another cop is dirty, then Internal Affairs gets involved, so more suspicions arise because of that. Everybody suspects everybody else, but as the old cliche goes, its always the one you least expect!

If you’ve ever seen the antics of Hugh Laurie on House, you get a similar vibe from his portrayal of the snarky head of IA. Also, I?m always impressed as to how flawless his American accent is! I love the supporting cast, and I hoped they would be utilized well, and they were decent. Rappers and budding actors Common and The Game came in and pulled off their roles; John Corbett and Jay Mohr ditched their typical “nice guy” parts for something spicier; Cedric the Entertainer was a milder comic foil; the two lone women in this movie (Naomie Harris and Martha Higareda) provided the insight into the men behind their badges. However, as you all know, I expected more from the two male leads! Whitaker and Reeves are definitely phenomenal and well-respected actors, but this just wasn?t a good fit for them. They were both very wooden, and simply didn?t deliver those gripping performances that many of us crave. Sure, this isn?t an adaptation of a work of Shakespeare or anything, but they looked like they were just going through the motions.

Originally, I had pretty high hopes that they would be a nice thrill ride. Those hopes weren’t completely obliterated. For those of you who are crime and action film fans, here is what you can look forward to: lots of people get the crap kicked out of them, plenty of shooting, tons of swearing, and some nice wisecracks to add some much needed levity. Yet, there was nothing out of the ordinary that screams “must see.” I’m not totally knocking this movie, but I?m not boasting about how great it is either. It?s a middle of the road pick for me. As it is, I wouldn?t pay an exorbitant amount of money for a ticket to see this.

 

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