A Review Of ‘Street Kings.’ In Theaters Now


Keanu looks miscast but I’m diggin’ the rest of the team.

Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Chris Evans, director David Ayer

“We’re the police. We can do whatever the hell we want.” Very true, Officer Ludlow a.k.a. “LA’s deadliest white boy.” From the outset, Reeves’ Ludlow appears to be a cliche waiting to happen (vodka mini-bottle chain-drinking, ridiculously violent as if to prove something) until we see how he’s pissed off half the LAPD with his special brand of nihilism.

Initially not a very convincing cop, Reeves evolves into a convincingly broken one, with his monotone loneliness kinda working for the role. After spending a career brokering secrets as the price of doing (police) business with Forest Whitaker’s gregarious captain - a charismatic, breezily swaggering turn by the Oscar winner - a hint of late-game pathos shows Ludlow as a dirty cop whose conscience finally catches up with him.

Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) has one of his less wiseacre roles as a cop on the case (to better-than-normal-Chris Evans effect) while Hugh Laurie brings his cynical “House”-like demeanor to the big screen.

Much ballyhooed rapper-actor Common (with a scant ten minutes of total screen time) flaunts charisma for days, in a truly brief yet indelible starmaking performance as a laid back, menacing drug dealer.

A cheesily operatic, bombastic score matched by Ludlow’s comically abusiveness otherwise detract from a scrappy script co-written by James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential) and some stylish directing by David Ayer. Just when you’re about to tire of the pretty obvious thin blue conspiracy, the film never fails to hold your attention and to deliver outlandish entertainment. It may not be aces, but these “Kings” will do.

It’s pretty hot - go give it a shot.

Edwardo Jackson is the author of the novels EVER AFTER and NEVA HAFTA, (Villard/Random House), a writer for The 213 Magazine, and an LA-based screenwriter. Visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com where his new novel I DO? is available NOW.

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