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Street Kings

A movie directed by David Ayer

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Exigent circumstances

  • Nov 15, 2008
  • by
"We're the police. We can do whatever the hell we want. It doesn't matter what happens; it's how we write it up."
(Tom Ludlow)

Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is one angry and bitter cop. His wife died (not shown in movie) in a rather tragic manner, and her autopsy was mishandled by the pathologist. Unable to put it behind him, he drinks at every opportunity while functioning as the point man for an elite police unit headed by Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker). Anything goes in this unit, and once the case is solved, the cover-up begins.

Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):

1. Dirty cops get the job done quickest
2. Internal Affairs can smell "dirty" a mile off
3. Nobody likes a snitch
4. Revenge is best when it's not served in the wrong place at the wrong time
5. DNA will out
6. Plot gets twisty
7. Plot gets silly
8. Not so grand finale

Never thought I'd say this, but Reeves is improving with age. His gritty portrayal of the troubled hero is mostly believable, except for the chemistry-free love connection. Whitaker almost foams at the mouth at times, but in my opinion, this isn't his best performance by a long shot.

Hugh Laurie should never have left the "House" based on this script, and Chris Evans doesn't exactly get his flame going with his relatively small part. Also with small roles are Gangsta Rapper The Game and Hip Hop artiste Common, plus Jay Mohr, John Corbett, Terry Crews, Cedric the Entertainer and Prison Break's Amaury Nolasco.

With no shortage of bankable stars, the ending is the thing that drags this movie down, and as Whitaker's character says: "This is about cops helping cops. And if a teacher, or a fireman, could do it, they would do it too."

Rated: 3.5 stars

Amanda Richards

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More Street Kings reviews
review by . August 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
3 ½ Stars: This COP Drama is Tough, Gritty and Full Of Attitude!
STREET KINGS is the latest police thriller by director David Ayer, responsible for other police thrillers such as “Training Day” and “Dark Blue”. Police corruption has been the main theme for most police dramas, and this film is no different. The screenplay by James Elroy is full of intrigue and bleakness that delves into the dark side of the LAPD.      Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is a cop on the edge, an alcoholic and would stoop to the most extreme measures …
About the reviewer
Amanda Richards ()
Ranked #39
I write reviews for a hobby. Most of my reviews are short and to the point, on account of my short attention span. I try to make my reviews both informative and entertaining, and sometimes I succeed. … more
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About this movie


David Ayer, who wrote TRAINING DAY, gives us another unflinching look at disillusionment and questionable decision-making within the ranks of the LAPD. Ayer's second directorial effort tells the story of burnt-out Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves), a functioning alcoholic and undisciplined detective with the Special Vice Unit. While so much of this characterization appears resonatingly familiar at first, we soon learn that the character here has been tweaked. While this loose cannon in no way does things by the book, he is also far from playing by his own rules. Ludlow is relied upon by the other detectives in the unit, and by their almost maniacally ambitious Captain Wander (Forest Whitaker), to go outside the law whenever needed. The infractions he is pressured to commit are quickly and uncomplainingly covered up by Captain Wander, while Ludlow and the rest of Special Vice receive accolades for their high clearance rate. Not until one of these cover-ups leads to the brutal murder of his ex-partner (Terry Crew...
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Director: David Ayer
Genre: Drama
Release Date: April 11, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Jamie Moss, Kurt Wimmer
DVD Release Date: August 19, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 47min
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"Exigent circumstances"
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