Nobody does it better than Keanu Reeves (“The Day the Earth Stood Still”) when it comes to non-stop action, “Street Kings” take his appeal to a whole new level. If you like shoot ’em-ups, and ‘take no prisoner attitudes, then this movie is for you.
The impressive cast adds to the gritty, mean-spirited cop drama. We all know that Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker’s (“Last King of Scotland”) characters can be as cruel as they are gentle; in this physically demanding role as Captain Jack Wander he’s a lot of both. Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles (“Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins”) once again stretches his acting muscles as he plays a not so willing stooge, Common (“Smokin’ Aces”) and The Game (“Waist Deep”) are simply tough, dangerous and misunderstood, so to speak. Also adding to the drama of the cast is Hugh Laurie, you may know him as the obstinate, know it all doctor on Fox’s “House.” As Captain James Biggs of the LAPD (Laurie) he knows something is rotten and he’s determined to get to the bottom of it.
Based on an original story by James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential,” “The Black Dahlia”) “Street Kings” takes you into the very secretive and dangerous world of the LAPD. Most police officers will tell you there’s nothing worse than a dirty cop, but a cop who would betray his fellow officers is even worse.
The film’s director, David Ayer (“The Fast and the Furious”) admits that he’s fascinated with the world of law and order, and that living in East L.A. as one of very few white kids in the area, he was able to see the workings of the LAPD first hand; the good and the bad. Ellroy and Ayer combined forces and created an action-packed drama, with more twists and turns imaginable.
Keanu Reeves stars as Detective Tom Ludlow, a reckless, hard drinking officer who finds it difficult to get over the death of his wife. Focusing primarily on his job, he always gets his man, no matter what. “True blue” the thought of police corruption never played high on his scorecard, until he finds himself implicated in the murder of his partner, Detective Terrence Washington played by Terry Crews (CW’s “Everybody Hates Chris”).
Ludlow (Reeves) is associated with a tight-knit group of detectives headed by Captain Wander (Whitaker) who has his eye on becoming the Chief of Police. Wander has dirt on everyone, and is a smooth operator when it comes to using his power. He depends greatly on Ludlow’s ‘take no prisoners’ work ethnic and openly supports Ludlow’s every move.
Determined to clear his name and get to the core of the maze of lies, betrayals, murder and mayhem Ludlow sets out to unravel the tangled web. No one is safe and he finds himself trying to protect his girlfriend, and the wife of his ex-partner, all the while trying to determine who is the mastermind behind the killings and corruption.
The great cast, the well-written script and the sights and sounds of the underbelly of LA keep you riveted to your seat. It’s apparent that the actor’s roles were physically demanding, and they openly joked about how they had to rehearse scenes over and over again to make it as real as possible yet not get hurt. All of the characters, including Whitaker are forced into hand-to-hand combat with their equals. Reeves also has the reputation of rehearsing every scene over and over, and you will understand why. The split second timing leaves little room for error, or any fake moves.
This is a hard-core, nail-biting movie, that gives even more credibility to the term “wild, wild, west” LAPD style. The filmmakers say this movie is in no way an indictment against the LAPD, but it is as rough and tumble as it comes.
“Street Kings” is in theaters Friday, April 11. If it’s action you want, it’s action you’ll get.
– Gail Choice is a writer/producer and can be reached at email@example.com