Street Kings Reviews
Tom's in a world of hurt from internal affairs and his old partner who know the evil that this man has done. After the partner is killed in an attack Tom feels guilt over his death- sometimes. And as he begins to dig toward the truth he finds out the unit he is part of (led by Forest Whitaker) is- surprise- corrupt.
As you can tell the plot is paper thin because Tom is supposed to be out righting the wrongs of his unit AND is shocked because his unit is taking bribes and being bad little boys in general. The flip flopping of the lead character also drags this film to the depths of crap. The acting (even Keanu for once) is actually pretty good. It's just the damn story fails in so many ways. An interesting idea that falls to pieces.
I don't really want to huge indepth review on this one, because it's such a good film I'd feel like I was spoiling it for anyone who may have not seen this yet, what I can say is "Corruptness". A cop that seems corrupt, ends up being the good guy, fighting a city of corruptness all on his own as he tries to track down the killers of his former partner...
It's nearly perfect, but, it lacks a good soundtrack. I'm a firm believer for a movie to be completley classic your in need for a great soundtrack to truly connect on an emotional level with the characters; sadly; this movie didnt do the best job on capturing that side of things....but other then that.... it's damn near perfection.
The film starts of really well, the beginning sequence with Reeves undercover setting up a gang is great, really tense and hard hitting, it kicks of the film with a bang and you believe its gonna continue like that but it unfortunatley gets alittle dull. It could of been a really violent cool 'Grand Theft Auto' based film, it begs for more action.
One downer is Huge Laurie, its so pathetic having the British goofey comdian trying to be an American hard ass suit lol just doesnt work atall. Reeves car makes up for it slightly haha again that begged for a chase sequence.
Could have been so much more than the usual bad cop who done it.
Several times I found myself looking at Keanu Reeves and thinking Vic Mackey, though he's not as caught up in a web of his own doing as he is a victim of the paradigm that allows him to be what he has become; falling into the trap of cleaning the streets regardless of the cost to both his soul and the society at large (and of course one may argue that it is the gomorrah of the society itself that is both cause and effect).
I enjoyed Hugh Laurie's performance as well as the all too slick but slightly psychotic portryal of the team leader Forrest Whitaker (another connection to The Shield).
There are some corners cut in this film and some throwaway scenes trying to show Reeves tenuous grasp on humanity, but overall the film is satisfying and delivers its formula well. If I end up, once again comparing it to The Shield, well, that's not a bad thing, is it?
Good performance by Keanu Reeves; he actually pulled off the tough and dirty cop role. Hugh Laurie is great, although he was barely in this thing. Forest Whitaker, and Chris Evans provide decent supporting roles even with the awkward dialogue they have to utter. The film has a neat gritty feel to it. David Ayer is familiar with this material so he's able to bring a good sensibility to it. The weak link here is James Ellroy's script, which goes from convoluted to ludicrous to downright stupid.
The film follows a few days in the life of Keanu's character- an old school cop who ruthlessly takes out the bad guys and lies through his teeth to get the job done. In that sense he is a corrupt cop, but he's not on the take, and as the movie unfolds he discovers his ex partner is grassing him up to Internal Affairs and he must get to the bottom of a cop killing incident that increasingly stinks of blackmail, dirty money and cops betraying cops. I think that's as much as I can say without giving anything away.
My main criticism of this film is that for me, the plot and the twists were far too obvious. So if your one of those people like me who sees twists coming a mile off, but hates it when that happens, you may be disappointed. So I recommend either switching off your brain or giving yourself a congratulatory pat on the back when your guesses are gradually confirmed as the movie unfolds.
There's plenty of shoot outs, some decent action, and an interesting slant on the Internal Affairs scenario. Admittedly many of the characters are clichés but what cop thriller isn't riddled with them? And besides, clichés are clichés because they are often spot on to reality. The great Hugh Laurie has a small but significant role as a Internal Affairs officer, I for one wish his part was bigger.One other thing I was annoyed by was the ending, in that certain faceless and unknown corrupt officials appear to end up being protected and not pay for their crimes, but on reflection I realise that had this story been a true one, then that would have been exactly what would have happened.
All in all a good effort, Its not as good as some films of its type like Dark Blue or tv series like The Shield but is worth checking out
Nate's Grade: D
21 - Glitzy, breezy, and 100 percent predictable, [i]21[/i] is a simple con movie that goes through the motions with hyper realism. The most interesting part of the film, by far, is learning the systems that help these coeds fleece Vegas for thousands of dollars. In fact, the true story is far more interesting than this typical tale about a good kid who gets a big ego, pushes his true friends away, is humbled, and then learns a lesson while getting the girl too. What's a MIT engineer want to go to Harvard med school for? And for that matter, you're telling me there are no scholarships out there to brainy MIT students? Whatever the case, [i]21[/i] will pass the time nicely without damaging your brain. The card games are ramped up with zooming camerawork and flashy special effects by director Robert Luketic ([i]Legally Blonde[/i]), but it's all window dressing to an interesting story that was white washed into a bland but undeniably commercial movie. It's a fine time but, like Vegas, will leave you empty in the end. Still, you could do worse than overly stylized con movies about math whiz card sharks.
Nate's Grade: C+
Be Kind, Rewind - [i]Be Kind, Rewind[/i] is a celebration of the love of movies and moviemaking, but it wants to shoot for a deeper message and stumbles. When the movie concentrates on remaking famous movies like [i]Ghostbusters[/i], [i]Robocop[/i], and [i]Rush Hour 2[/i], the movie has a ramshackle charm and great comedic spirit. When the film strays to tell a tale about community pride is when the movie gets dull and leaden. The concept of cheap, quick, homemade versions of Hollywood movies (the YouTube-ification if you will) is fun and Jack Black and Mos Def are definitely having fun in the process. But the movie has too many other elements that just don't work together. The history of a local jazz legend feels awkward and bogs down the movie's enjoyment. Director Michel Gondry can only do so much with his quirky visual sensibilities before you start to get bored. [i]Be Kind, Rewind[/i] is occasionally entertaining and works best when it's ripping off other movies than trying to stand on its own merits.
Nate's Grade: C+
Grace is Gone - This Iraq War drama means well but it comes across as manipulative and morally questionable. John Cusack stars as a former military man who just found out his wife, on active duty in Iraq, has been killed. The bulk of the film's conflict deals with how Cusack will tell his two daughters that mommy is not coming home again. Instead of being upfront with his children, he takes them out of school and whisks them away on a family trip to an amusement park. His reasoning is that he wants to squeeze in a few more happy memories before the kids hear the news. To me, this is irresponsible and psychologically damaging; those kids will resent their father holding onto such important information while he encouraged his kids to shop in ignorance. The film is about 80 minutes of watching a guillotine hang over someone's head, just waiting for the moment to hit. It can get rather uncomfortable. Somewhere in this misguided drama is a poignant look at the domestic cost of the Iraq War from the family's perspective, a perspective yet to be fully articulated by the movies. Instead, [i]Grace is Gone [/i]is a well-acted but contrived drama that favors delaying the pains of reality to the point of incredulity.
Nate's Grade: C+
Lust, Caution - Ang Lee's period romance is no [i]Brokeback Mountain[/i], though there is a heavy supply of thrusting and grunting. [i]Lust, Caution[/i] is an NC-17 rated peak into life in China under Japanese occupation in the 1930s. Most of the film follows a school drama club that decides to become freedom fighters. They scheme to murder Chinese officials working with the Japanese government, and one gal (Wei Tang) is tapped to seduce and then kill a high-ranking official. For such a controversial movie, the sex scenes don't even begin until 90 minutes into the flick (though our undercover heroine is deflowered by her drama club peer for the good of her mission). The movie is exquisitely shot, handsome in its details, and the lead performance by Tang is exceptional, simmering with conflicting emotions and some real sensual heat. The sex scenes doe have an erotic potency to them and they are more explicit than the kinder gentler fare found in typical Hollywood movies that consist of only seeing the slow-motion ecstasy result from a man on top. The offbeat love story gestates too late in the film's run, leaving little time to delve deeper. Too much of the movie concerns back-story following the drama club's road to becoming revolutionaries, and while it's interesting it's also rather needless on second thought. There's a nine-minute difference between the R-rated version and the theatrical NC-17 cut; what's in those nine minutes I do not know since I saw the edited version, but I've been told it's a lot of thrusting. In lusty terms, the movie is heavy on foreplay and too short on a satisfying climax.
Nate's Grade: B-[/color][/font]
Don't get me wrong, if I had never seen a cop movie or an LA violence-laced, cops against gang members movie or a dirty cops movie before, I would've given this 4.5 stars. But I have seen all of the above, and I have seen better.
Nothing about this movie is original: the twists, the action, the plot, the double crossings, the set-ups, the payoffs, the corruption, the gun fights.... NOTHING. It was like a montage of clips from random movies with Keanu Reeves in the middle whinning and complaining. It's hard to take a movie seriously when a character tries so hard to kill himself and yet he seems to be the only one who lives. I felt no empathy for Reeves character....
Chris Evans, Forest Whitaker, and Hugh Laurie all put in good efforts, but they alone can't save a plot you've already seen before.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad flick if you're a fan of the genre.. just don't expect anything new or ground breaking. The multiple twists are engaging... but I still feel it comes up flat in the end.
The production values of this film are superb - the cinematography is amazing, the music packs a punch and the action sequences are captured terrifically. And Keanu Reeves is briliant wearing the badge again.