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  Street Kings

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Jay Mohr
Directed by: David Ayer

Produced by: Alexandra Milchan, Lucas Foster, Erwin Stoff

Written by: James Ellroy (screenplay & story), Kurt Wimmer & Jamie Moss (screenplay)
Distributor: 20th Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures

     As often as life in the American ghetto is irrationally glamorized by contemporary filmmakers, there remains a rugged, bleak form of visual poetry to be found in the setting. Filmmaker David Ayer depicted this with stunning authenticity in his script for the 2001 cop-drama, Training Day, and has since returned for second-helpings with Street Kings, this time in the director’s chair. Unfortunately, he sacrifices all of the drama, fear, corruptness, and community found in his South Central L.A.-backdrop during this outing in order to mold it into a routine cop-drama. Street Kings may contain many of the same locales as Training Day, but you wouldn’t know it based on the generic manner in which they are depicted. Ayer’s screenplay could’ve been slapped into any location—even the rich, near-crime-free zone of Los Angeles’ Beverly Hills—and retained the same daytime-television-level of tension that it boasts now. Yes, there are some interesting twists and turns made by the plot of Ayer’s tale of L.A.P.D. corruption, but there’s not much of a reason for the viewer to care about these when they belong to a soulless, underdeveloped whole. Perhaps the greatest sin committed by Street Kings is that it wastes the talents of its all-star cast—headlined by Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, and Cedric the Entertainer—on such a manufactured story and one-dimensional set of characters. Skip it.


-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 4.14.2007

Screened on: 4.12.2007 at the Edwards San Marcos 18 in San Marcos, CA.


Street Kings is rated R and runs 108 minutes.

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