Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.

Street Kings

 
 
Review by Jonas Mieschbuehler

Tough cops, ruthless street gangs, blazing gunfights and underground lingo… are you getting familiar with this genre?  Helmed by David Ayer (Training Day), Street Kings had once been attached to both Spike Lee and Oliver Stone.  It could have been totally different, but Ayer managed to get the best out of a mediocre script and a fairly well-rounded cast.  Set in the gritty streets of Los Angeles, Det. Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) lives with a torn past, so he sets about dealing with the gangs of L.A with dirty tactics and raw efficiency, not to mention a few bottles of vodka.

“No cop seems straight in the whole city”, as one guy puts it in the midst of a gang deal.   “Cops are like weeds, you take one out and two more grow back”.  That seems to go for the districts captains as well (played exceptionally by Forest Whittaker and House, M.D.’s Hugh Laurie), although some are more corrupt than others. The cast is rounded out by the likes of Jay Mohr, Terry Crews, and Chris Evans (who usually appear in comedic roles but impress with solid acting), as well as rappers Common and The Game, who don’t disappoint either.

The film does have its slower parts and is lacking in action, but when the action does heat up it bursts onto the screen with a frenetic pace that makes up for the slower parts.  Director David Ayer really does know how to turn a seemingly normal situation into a fast thrilling experience (and no, I’m not talking about drugs). Keanu Reeves does his best to not look wooden… in fact, I think he is actually improving with every movie and the cast around him in fact make him a better actor.

If you are looking for a good solid story with guns, gangs and a twist or two then this is the film for you.  It may not have made a big splash at the box office, but I would say it’s very underrated. An entertaining ride from start to finish, complemented by some fine acting, superb direction and exhilarating action.  This film is one you can’t miss.

3 ½ / 5 stars

 

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