Dark Blue - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dark Blue Reviews

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June 7, 2017
The 10 min LA riot scene is cool, besides that it's just a bad crime drama. No real hero. Every character is unlikable.
March 6, 2017
Kurt Russell plays a compromised cop in the middle of a cover up in the days leading up to the Rodney King decision and the ensuing riots, and while it's a fairly gritty tale and believable enough, I just never fully committed to it because I can't get behind Scott Speedman and his boyish face, for whatever reason.

Worth a rental, but I doubt it's going to be anything you wanna watch more than once.
May 26, 2016
Routine cop movie, but Russell keeps it alive with an honest performance. Great supportive cast too. I'm surprised a director like Shelton, known for sports comedies, would do a cop flick.
October 3, 2015
I've never seen a movie that is so... "okay". How's the acting, it's okay. How's the plot, it's okay. How's the action, when it happens, it's okay. What makes this film watchable is Kurt Russell. I really like him as an actor but in this, he is acting more like Nicolas Cage with out-of-nowhere over-the-top freak-outs. "Dark Blue" was written by one of my favourite screenwriters, David Ayer. His movies, whether writing or directing, always get me invested extremely quick such as "Training Day", "The Fast and the Furious", "End of Watch" etc. But "Dark Blue" didn't have anything special in it to hook me in right away. It took a good 45 minutes for this movie to get just the slightest bit interesting. Roger Ebert gave it two thumbs up but I'm gonna have to give a thumbs down to this one. There are better cop movies out there.
½ June 28, 2015
Russell is good but there is no there,there as far as the script
April 2, 2015
Kurt Russell's performance alone is the main reasoned I reviewed this movie. The movie is not great but is made considerably better with Russell involved. He is the reason my rating is 4 stars instead of 3.
January 22, 2015
An average flick if I've ever seen one. Some scenes work, others not so much. Russell is quite good as a corrupt officer but everything else about this film screams generic. A shame really since the film makers clearly have a higher intent in mind and the Rodney King era is ripe for a quality cinematic treatment.
Super Reviewer
January 2, 2015
A pretty good cop action/thriller i thought. The movie follows police corruption and gangsters on LA streets.. Kurt Russell and Ving Rhames are some of the actors and they did a good job. If u liked Narc / Training Day i bet u like this aswell.
December 20, 2014
Oh wow, this was so '90s.
October 1, 2014
There are a 100 in a dozin like this one... Russel was ok , his caracter don't follow the rules...corrupt . SOMDVD
August 29, 2014
"Dark Blue" is a gritty, tense police thriller that deals with corruption in such a realistic way that you sincerely hope it is exaggerated for the simple purpose of making an entertaining film.

Director Ron Shelton, stepping way outside of his comfort zone, has done just that and he shows a real flair for the genre after spending most of his career making sports movies. Still, Kurt Russell is the star here, and it's nice to see such a dependable actor get such a great part and do so much with it. He could have very easily taken it over the top and turned Detective Eldon Perry into a demented lunatic, but he keeps his performance and character grounded. He's not evil, he's simply doing his job the way he was trained by his family before him. When he finally makes amends at his promotion ceremony at the end, it's a great moment.

There are far too many needless subplots that tend to take the viewer out of the moment, mostly involving personal relationship's such as Russell's marriage breaking up, but screenwriter David Ayer wisely updated the film to be set against the backdrop of the Rodney King trial. That really gives the film a sense of urgency and immediacy, and once the verdict is reached, the finale is that much more explosive. I'm not sure how accurate it is having only seen the riots on the nightly news, but in this picture, they sure feel accurate.

"Dark Blue" is pretty typical of the police thriller genre, but it has its own story to tell and it does so with skill and packs a couple of hard-hitting punches.
½ July 13, 2014
Kurt Russell is a fantastic actor, and even though Dark Blue isn't a perfect film, it still manages to be a solid LA police flick
Super Reviewer
March 20, 2014
Surprisingly good. Interesting story set in a troubled time that most of America would like to quickly forget. Entertaining story, great cast, and very solid ending. Check this out if you're a fan of cop movies.
March 1, 2014
Just doesn't seem to hit the target of an actual good movie.
December 14, 2013
For the most part, "Dark Blue" is a surprisingly well-directed and engaging movie. In fact, if it wasn't for the highly predictable and melodramatic ending, this would have been a completely satisfying action flick.
November 25, 2013
I have always been a big Kurt Russell fan. He plays anti-heroes, bumbling superheroes, and the everyman character to perfection. Yet, until Dark Blue, I never saw him as a serious dramatic actor who could contend for say, an Oscar. Now granted, Kurt didn't get nominated for his turn as a corrupt L.A.P.D. cop in the movie I'm writing this review on. But he should have. His performance has many more layers than what we're used to seeing from a once famed, child actor. What can I say, as Sergeant Eldon Perry, he is flat out volcanic. Watching him on screen, you feel as if he's acting for his life. I was blown away. Not only is this his best performance ever, but the film outside of Russell, is fantastic as well. Its director Ron Shelton (White Man Can't Jump, Tin Cup), is not known for shooting cop flicks. He's more your lessons-learned-through-sports movie guy. He does however, in this exercise, know the darkest parts of L.A., and he knows how to get his actors to say what they mean and mean what they say. Let's be honest, going into the theater back in 2003, I didn't think a guy who played Elvis and a director who made Bull Durham could deliver a gritty, absorbing, and overwhelmingly solid cop thriller. I have to admit I was mistaken and pleasantly surprised at the same time.

Now Dark Blue does come off as a little confusing in the first 10-15 minutes. It then however, settles down to tell its story in a brilliant sort of way that an audience member can not think too hard and be massively entertained at the same time. Based on a short story by crime novelist James Ellroy concerning the famous Rodney King trial and serving as a backdrop to the L.A. riots of 1992, "Blue" makes its case as a character study for Russell, his superior officer (commander Jack Van Meter played Brendan Gleeson who specializes in cold, heartless types), and his nervous young partner (detective Bobby Keough played by Underworld's Scott Speedman). Russell's character and Speedman's character take orders from Van Meter who on the side, has two street thugs regularly steal safes and murder for him (the murders aren't the main intention, it's about the money). In return, he lets them stay out of jail therefore putting the burden of having said detectives (Keough and Perry) find, shoot, and arrest similar suspects who had nothing to do with the crimes. As the film carries on, Perry (Russell) along with Keough (Speedman) have epiphanies and start to question their overall motives. Meanwhile, assistant chief Arthur Holland (played by a powerfully gentle Ving Rhames) is trying to crack the whole internal investigation wide open and expose any corrupt doings within the department.

This is a smooth, intricately woven plot machine. As I viewed it for a second time, I was heavily reminded of 2001's Training Day. Both films are similar in their examination of the misguided, fallen nature of L.A.'s finest. In terms of the lead, Russell plays a sort of less nastier version of Denzel Washington's Alonzo Harris. Even the endings of these films seem sort of familiar. Both actors in each movie spout off soliloquies and speeches when their vehicles reach their conclusions. The difference with Dark Blue is that it's a lot less bloody and it deals more with moral issues minus the over-the-top gratuitous violence (just call it Training Day lite). Yes, Training Day is also very good. But "Blue" goes deeper and exhausts you as the viewer, in different, more thought-provoking ways.

One of my favorite things I like to do as a critic, is find motion pictures that are vastly underrated and painfully overlooked by other critics and the movie going public. Dark Blue may be one of the most underrated films I have ever seen. It came out at the wrong time of the year (March of 2003 in the U.S.), wasn't marketed terribly well, and as a result, tanked at the box office. The fact that it hasn't grown a mild cult following also has me scratching my head. Bottom line: If you haven't seen this masterpiece, please do so. It makes you question how police work gets done, it forecasts a harrowing sense of dread from the opening scene re-shown and hour and a half later, it has sequences in which Ron Shelton puts you right in the middle of L.A.'s terrifying South Central mind field, and it has Russell plowing his way through "Blue" like a bull in a china shop. All in all, Dark Blue is a gem, a revelation and one "dark" film indeed.
October 25, 2013
Americans getting shot so a fantastic and somewhat brutal and fun start to this movie. Kurt, Ving and Scott give a harsh characterization to the themes allowing the flow of the script to punch hard. Music and sound are smart and brash with there own story adding to the mix. Camera is off hand and distant giving the action shock value. Nibbles: Goulash.
September 29, 2013
Une association David Ayer / James Ellroy, c'est l'assurance d'avoir un polar noir, ultra realiste et surtout tres violent. Dark Blue ne deroge pas a la regle. S'il demarre plutot lentement, le film monte constamment en puissance, grace a un casting fabuleux (Kurt Russell est immense) et une realisation tres efficace de Ron Shelton, qui parvient a insuffler un sentiment d'insecurite pesant pendant les emeutes. A voir absolument.
September 9, 2013
Adrenaline is high, tempers are hot, and racial tensions are boiling over. Against this explosive backdrop, LAPD detective Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) tutors his rookie partner (Scott Speedman) in the realities of police intimidation and corruption as they investigate a high-profile homicide case. But as the body count rises - and the evidence just doesn't add up --Assistant Chief Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames) threatens to end Perry's brand of "justice" ...if Perry's own demons don't destroy him first.

also stars Brendan Gleeson, Michael Michele, Lolita Davidovich, Dash Mihok, Kurupt and Master P.

directed by Ron Shelton.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2013
Before watching Dark Blue I had my reservations that it was going to be quite generic, un-original and very run of the mill but I was very surprised when I was gripped, captivated and very entertained and satisfied with what I got.
Dark Blue follows various cops torn between right and wrong on a case of a quadruple murder. As simplistic as that sounds, there are various twists and turns along the way; some surprising and unexpected and others blandly predictable.
The casting for this movie was great. It was very good to see Kurt Russell in a film seen as his appearances run years between. Along with Kurt Russell is Ving Rhames, Scott Speedman & Brendan Gleeson. Kurt Russell is on GREAT form as the morally corrupted cop, Scott Speedman brought a good performance as the young cop unsure of his corrupt colleagues.
Along with the great cast, the story is great as previously mentioned and as plain, boring and un-original as it sounds it really is quite unpredictable and entertaining. Think Narc but less dark but more entertaining.
The film runs around the two hour mark which sounds like overkill for a cop film, but actually it fits quite well although some parts were in there for the sake of time filling and could have easily been left out and it wouldn't have taken away from the film's greatness. Although, the film wouldn't be nearly as good without Kurt Russell. He brings the charisma, the entertainment and the controversy. By controversy, I mean that his character is morally corrupt and often acts outside the law but paints a picture so it was self defence for example.
Overall, there isn't much more to say about Dark Blue that hasn't already been mentioned. There are great performances, a better than average story with a few good twists and a good running time. Dark Blue is well worth your time if you like these kinds of dark police drama films.
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