Tuesday, April 22, 2008

STREET KINGS - once a patsy....

STREET KINGS is a dull, predictable, mis-cast, dirty-cop-thriller from the director of HARSH TIMES and writer of TRAINING DAY. The movie features Keanu Reeves as a meat-head, bent-out-of-shape, vigilante cop. Forest Whitaker is the corrupt police chief pulling his strings. The Reeves character has an attack of morality and goes after the gang-land killers of another cop who was actually snitching on him. It's a cute little Catch 22 situation. If he finds the killers, they could implicate him (wrongly, for once) in the hit. Should he take the fall but do the right thing? In a town so corrupt, what's the right thing anyways?

After LA CONFIDENTIAL and TRAINING DAY, I need to see something pretty special from a dirty cop film to justify its existence, and this film just doesn't have it. The script is derivative, paced too slow, and the plot twists will be obvious to anyone familiar with the genre. The casting is an even bigger problem. Keanu Reeves is plain unconvincing as a grizzled, hard-as-nails cop. He's about as hard as my grandmother. Hugh Laurie is similarly unconvincing as a foul-mouthed, intimidating Internal Affairs cop. Forest Whitaker hams it up as the Chief - it's like watching one of those grim Al Pacino performances where he randomly shouts things and pastiches himself. In fact, pretty much the only actors who do a good job are two young, relatively inexperienced cast members - Naomie Harris as a grieving widow and Chris Evans as a rookie cop.

STREET KINGS is on release in the Philippines, Singapore, Estonia, Finland, Indonesia, Turkey, USA, Oman, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK. It opens next week in Argentina, Denmark, Iceland, Spain and Sweden and the following week in Norway. It opens in May in Belgium, Hong Kong and in June in Australia, France, Italy and Poland.

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