Monday, August 18, 2008


Street Kings (originally titled The Night Watchman) is a 2008 action-crime film, directed by David Ayer, and starring Keanu Reeves, Hugh Laurie and Forest Whitaker. The initial screenplay drafts were written by James Ellroy in the late 1990s under the title The Nightwatchman.

LAPD veteran Tom Ludlow (Reeves) has borne personal witness to the worst that the streets have to offer, and when his partner, Detective Terrance Washington (Terry Crews), is killed the violence strikes a bit too close to home. Now Ludlow is on a mission to bring his partner's killer to justice, though Captain Walker (Whitaker) is concerned that the hotheaded detective is taking the case too personally.

Now, as Captain Walker attempts to convince Ludlow to work within the confines of the law, Internal Affairs Captain Biggs (Laurie) begins following the vengeful lawman's every move. In order to accomplish his mission, Ludlow recruits fresh-faced Robbery Homicide Detective Diskant (Chris Evans) to trace Washington's killers through the winding streets of Los Angeles. Later, when Ludlow and Diskant come face to face with the remorseless cop killers, they must chose between upholding the law and seeking bitter vengeance.

Street Kings is like Training Day's little brother. It wants to be just as good but we all know that Reeves is no Denzel Washington. Street Kings is not that bad though and it is filled with really good actors. I had my doubts because even a 5 year old could tell that it is trying to be like Training Day and that the director also made the similar Harsh Times. Either he needs to step it up a notch with these types of films or just move on to something else.

The movie tries to tackle so many things but it just doesn't know how to. Reeves has a drinking problem but let's move on. Reeves has a dead wife but let's move on. There is a lot of cops looking suspicious but let's move on to the action. Some scenes even feel like they were stopped too soon, as if the camera ran out of film or something. James Ellroy has given us a lot of good stories and this is not one of them. He is listed in the credits as coming up with it and co-writing but I doubt he had much to do with the final product that we get.

Street Kings wasn't a waste of my time but I know I could have watched something better. I just got out of work, I was tired, it was dark and windy outside. I just felt like watching a cheesy corrupt cop movie. If you want to see something exactly like this movie but I know for a fact that you won't hate, rent or buy Dark Blue. It stars Kurt Russell and hey what do you know, it's by James Ellroy.

Street Kings: 6 out of 10

The DVD features director's commentary; screenwriter's commentary; cast commentary; deleted scenes; vignettes; training diaries (somebody's sucking up).



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