Street Kings Reviews

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Tom Charity
CNN.com
October 18, 2008
Keanu Reeves' bad-boy cop Tom Ludlow may not play by the rules, but the film sure does.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 18, 2008
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Bob Mondello
NPR.org
October 18, 2008
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Time Out
April 18, 2008
What could have been endearingly daft remains merely forgettable.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/6
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
April 14, 2008
It's really kind of a dirty scummy piece of work.
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
April 11, 2008
Another 'roid-raging dirty cop drama from David Ayer.
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
April 11, 2008
[James Ellroy] writes Calvinist screeds against sin; filmmakers turn them into shoot-em-up thrillers.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
April 11, 2008
Street Kings wastes a moderately intriguing premise by filling it with laughably clichéd dialogue, one-dimensional characters and implausible turns of events.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
April 11, 2008
The movie belongs to Reeves, who at 43 is finally starting to look like an adult, with greater heft all round. He does Clint proud.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mark Rahner
Seattle Times
April 11, 2008
The potential match made in crime heaven has some admirably gritty action but suffers from first-degree obviousness and some bad dialogue that's especially painful when it comes out of Keanu Reeves.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
April 11, 2008
Keanu Reeves tries his best to channel Denzel and Clint in Street Kings, a wild and woolly if also slack and silly bad-cops-kill-other-bad-cops thriller.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
April 11, 2008
Like director David Ayer's previous movies (he wrote Training Day), Street Kings is about the joy of badass coppery.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
April 11, 2008
After its clichéd first scene Street Kings becomes an enjoyably tough, blood-splattered action drama that revolves around the one good cop at its center.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
April 11, 2008
Street Kings wobbles increasingly as it runs along, beginning well, growing so-so and culminating in a preposterous here's-what-it-all-means confession by the main villain.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
April 11, 2008
The picture may feel more than a little familiar, but [director] Ayer knows how to cook up intense setpieces, and Reeves keeps getting better at the weary hero role he continually gravitates toward.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Jim Emerson
Chicago Sun-Times
April 11, 2008
An anemic attempt to evoke the big, shiny action pictures of the late '80s and early '90s, the heyday of Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, when Timothy Dalton was 007 and Clint Eastwood had fewer wrinkles and bigger hair.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
April 11, 2008
If you've seen Training Day, you've seen Street Kings done better.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
April 11, 2008
Street Kings has hints of Training Day and the subtle aroma of L.A. Confidential, two movies concerned with the moral ambiguity and compromised honor of L.A.'s finest.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
April 11, 2008
Street Kings is the cinematic equivalent of solid crime-genre fiction. It keeps the visual pages turning for a couple hours and navigates the dark corners of corruption and dishonor among men.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
April 11, 2008
[Director] Ayer appears to like the thrill of violence more than its philosophical underpinnings, so the movie is caught between the silly and the profound.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
April 11, 2008
There's a lot to appreciate in Street Kings, a tight, propulsive action thriller, but there's one thing to marvel at, and that's James Ellroy's command of story.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
April 10, 2008
That Ellroy delivers a crude, undistinguished script here is a pity.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
April 10, 2008
Street Kings is an absurd if accidentally entertaining potboiler, based on a story by James Ellroy.
| Original Score: 2.5/5
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
April 10, 2008
Much of the casting is dead-on, from Cedric the Entertainer as a street dealer to Jay Mohr as a slimy cop and Chris Evans as an earnest rookie who saddles up with Reeves' Ludlow for an ill-fated ride.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
April 10, 2008
Don't get me wrong. Street Kings clips along with brutal efficiency, but the plot that sets up Tom for a frame-up is, in critic parlance, a strain on credulity.
| Original Score: 2/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
April 10, 2008
We see the big picture way before the characters do, and that pushes us right out of the movie and back into our seats -- the last place we want to be.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
April 10, 2008
Working from an original story by [James] Ellroy, [David] Ayer's overwrought Kings splashes around in the slop, but its conclusions seem a little rote from these two, who have both expressed their bottomless cynicism more effectively in the past.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
April 10, 2008
In Ellroy's original scenario Street Kings was a period piece, set in the 1990s just after the Rodney King riots. I wonder if it would've made more sense that way.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
April 10, 2008
David Ayer, who wrote Training Day, directs with enough flash to keep the action crisp and nasty. But he can't swagger his way through Ellroy's swampy storyline, which traps its characters in cynicism and amorality.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
April 10, 2008
There's something cynical about Ayers' attempt to preserve Ludlow as a hero after scene upon scene meant to show, with heavy irony, how lawlessly he enforced the law.
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
April 10, 2008
James Ellroy wrote the script; he also wrote the novel on which L.A. Confidential was based. If you're hoping for a similar intelligence, you're out of luck.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Hank Sartin
Time Out
April 10, 2008
A police thriller that's desperate to be gritty, Street Kings boasts a protagonist so dumb it takes him an hour of screen time to realize a 'plot twist' we assumed was a given.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/6
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
April 10, 2008
Despite the predictability of the overall story arc, there's suspense and tension to be found between the credit sequences, but the movie is saddled with an ending that is both improbable and borderline insulting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
April 9, 2008
The structure is in place -- the latticework of corruption -- only there are so many scurrilous men pulling strings that we might be watching a parade of nasty puppets, with Keanu as the chief wooden devil doll.
Full Review | Original Score: C+
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
April 9, 2008
The cliches and laughably hammy dialogue are scattered about just as liberally as the spent bullet casings in Street Kings.
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
April 4, 2008
Fast action combined with rock-solid characters.
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Peter Debruge
Variety
April 3, 2008
Pic itself is similarly conflicted, glamorizing gunslinging while crying foul over unnecessary force.