In a time of diminished respect for crooked cop flicks, Street Kings decided to try to revive a genre that is long past its peak since Training Day took awards. Imagine Street Kings as the little brother of Training Day, tagging along with an annoying sense of unintentional humor while simultaneously being loud and obnoxious. Unlike its older brother, this sleazy dirty cop thriller has no brains and no zest to bring this genre back to life.
Tom Ludlow (Keanu Revees) is a crooked, hard-boiled detective who faces the many obstacles of crime fighting. Betrayal, greed, and corruption on both sides of the law leaves Ludlow on the wanted list for the murder of a fellow officer.
Reeves boasts a performance that might as well be remembered as the most unfit and laid-back lead to ever be featured in a cop thriller. The acting is unconvincing, even from those who you’d expect to amount to something (all eyes fall on you, Forrest Whitaker).
Nobody expects a vintage performance from Reeves, but when everyone on screen is flat the blame ultimately falls in the director’s lap. David Ayer can’t seem to bring out the acting chops from these veteran actors and every line of nonstop banter rolls off the tongue like peanut butter, feeling entirely scripted (especially when cited by Keanu). And it goes on forever.
Thanks to miscasting, a train of distractingly bad dialog and performances, the lack of direction, and a script in need of three or four more re-writes, the film doesn’t have much to fall back on other than its gratuitous violence (which is unremittingly brutal, authorizing an unclean feeling). The grim familiarity of Street Kings numbs its ability to be surprising, effective, or even interesting. But lets face it, the biggest problems with Street Kings are the dreadful acting and a director who can write substantially better than he can direct.
The protagonist you feel guilty rooting for and the blatant violence is enough to make one feel emotionally unsure. Who is the good guy? Why does all this violence lead to a ending that glamorizes the exact issues it was tackling? But more importantly, why was this movie even made?
The special features (as if the film itself wasn’t punishment enough) contains three featurettes each one more boring than the next, Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by David Ayer, Alternate Takes, Vignettes, and Behind-the-Scenes Clips. The second disc included is the digital copy of the film. 1/5 stars