Street Kings - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Street Kings Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 7, 2008
Very interesting L.A. cop thriller with Keanu Reeves in his best role and performance since the Matrix films. Not only does he need more than one facial expression here, his character is wonderfully ambiguous and unusual in his oevre. The film offers a smart and enthralling plot while enjoying its own immorality. The action is well timed, and it's just fun and exciting to see the noose tighten around the main character, while cheering for him nonetheless. There are several plot twists you don't see coming and you'll certainly stick around for the ending. The supporting cast is excellent too. Overall an intense, enthralling, violent and realistic look at the good, the bad and the immoral in the war against crime. Excellent.
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2010
Top of the line Crime Action Movie where Bad Cops are running the Streets. Can not say enough about this movie. Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker are at the top of there game in this one. A must see and Must add to the Collection. 5 Stars without any doubt.
Super Reviewer
January 13, 2010
It wasn't that bad! I actually liked it!
Super Reviewer
½ November 30, 2009
I think it's one of the few times that a movie completely surprised me. I went in thinking that it was going to be something like Speed, but this is an excellent movie. The cast did a tremendous job, especially Keanu Reeves, who clearly gave his best performance of is career. It is a perfectly written crime epic from James Ellroy, who always delivers a great story.
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2008
One of the more terrible cop dramas I've seen in recent years. A lot of blame has to go to Keanu Reeves for his simply horrific performance as a cop that has to show emotion. If we know one thing about Keanu Reeves, he does only one thing well, acting robotic and emotionless, reason why he was such a great fit for "The Matrix", although I will admit he did do a better job showing emotion in one of my favorite action movies, "Speed". As far as this movie goes, it feels like a longer episode of "The Shield", only it tosses in fairly familiar plot lines and a cliched ending that makes little to no sense. The whole motive for Reeves character going really off the deep end just doesn't feel authentic, it feels forced and fake, and since a majority of the film's plot rests on Reeves revengeful state of mind, this movie fails pretty miserably.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2009
Police corruption movies have been done a lot of times. Nothing special about this one, real random casting. Keanu, Forest Whitaker, The Human Torch, Common, House Dude, Jay Mohr? Not terrible but not good enough to watch again.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2009
Street Kings is about a dirty cop named Tom (Keanu Reeves) who suddenly realizes the err of his ways and works to fix things. And then changes his mind. Then changes it again. He changes his mind yet again. Repeat. The main problem with Tom is that his demeanor changes so often that you realize it's to make the story more interesting than it really is.

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.
Super Reviewer
½ April 8, 2009
Street Kings has a lot of great actors, great action, and most importantly an unpredictable plot that will keep you glued to your seat from start to finish.

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.
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2008
This isnt too bad, its not great but it works. The cast is pretty good, Whitaker being the best of course, Reeves is better than usual but nothing special. The story is the usual cops gone bad scenario but it is made really well and does look cool. The action sequences are done well and you feel the bullets hitting their targets, but I wasnt blown away by it all.

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.
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2009
I found this film entertaining, and it's message about corruption and bowing to a necessary evil for the greater good to be timely and accurate. However, digging deeper we can see how turning a blind eye to "the tip of the spear" allows all the corruption that is at the core of the film.
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?
Super Reviewer
April 15, 2008
Had it ended 10 minutes earlier than it did, it would have been a pretty decent revenge flick. However, the plot twists upon plot twists create a payoff so ludicrous it sullies the entire picture. Say what you want about how implausible the ending of Gone Baby Gone was, at least that ending created a moral dilemma that fit in with the themes of the overall movie.
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.
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2008
A very good film with a strong cast. An interesting story involving shady goings on, bad cops, not so good cops. It is very entertaining and a good all round film. A more action packed film, but similar in some ways to the likes of Departed. Even Hugh Laurie makes an appearance as does the rapper The Game. Go see it!
Super Reviewer
July 10, 2008
Formulaic, morally confused police drama - very loud and very bloody. Keanu Reeves plays a disillusioned L.A. police officer: one minute he's corrupt , the next he has a crises of conscience, then he's corrupt again and back and forth. Inconsistent script glamorizes the very behavior it's condemning and the result feels like any random TV police drama. Worth seeing however for Forrest Whitaker's hilariously bad performance.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2008
i thought it was ok quite boring and a bit pointless really looking forward to it but very disappointed and the only good thing was hugh laurie and he wasnt in it much otherwise it would have been alot better!
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2008
I've read some reviews here and there about this movie because they claim the plot is incoherent and makes no sense. Well I have to totally disagree with that for starters, and can only assume that those reviewers must have tuned out on the movie pretty early into it.

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 Z.
Super Reviewer
½ September 18, 2008
[font=Arial][color=DarkRed]Street Kings - This is a wildly overwrought and sleazy drama is hoping to come across as edgy but everything is so overdone. It fulfills all the requisite elements of the modern crime picture; double crosses, forlorn anti-heroes, bloody violence, but [i]Street Kings[/i] misses the mark big time when it comes to any nuance. Every beat of this murky, convoluted dirty cops mystery is plain and obvious. If you cannot guess within minutes who the eventual culprits will be then you haven't seen enough movies. Every character is a cliché of a cliché, every unrestrained actor is constantly speaking in nothing but exclamation marks, and the dialogue is some of the worst I've heard all year. Keanu Reeves is a listless leading man who is blank and lifeless, unable to wrestle the dark and complicated emotions needed for a "cop on the edge" role. I can practically feel Forest Whitaker's spittle every time he speaks. [i]Street Kings[/i] feels like a route retread of rogue cop pictures, which are director David Ayer's specialty. It wants to shine a light on the seedy underbelly of the law but it can't stop from feeling like a lobotomized version of [i]L.A. Confidential[/i] (Note to Ayer: Jay Mohr + mustache = an arrangement that benefits neither party).

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]
Super Reviewer
½ September 11, 2008
Street Kings is one of the most unauthentic movies I've seen in years.

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.
Super Reviewer
September 7, 2008
Not bad.
Super Reviewer
April 7, 2008
Magnificent action-pack crime thriller and is the top-notch entertainment that delves into the dirty world of police corruption since Dark Blue.
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.
Super Reviewer
April 9, 2008
Watchable thriller with a surprisingly good performance from Keanu, although the plot isn't nearly as clever as it thinks it is.
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