Not Kings of Box Office
Well, I went into this movie with low expectations, and they were met. There were two major problems with Street Kings: the cast & the plot. First, let me lay out the plot for you. It revolves around a Vice squad that is that “dirty” and being investigated by Internal Affairs. Keanu Reeves is part of this squad. He is being investigated because of his old partner “turning” on him. When his partner is killed, he and a detective try and solve his murder. That is the entire plot. Why is it bad? It sounds decent enough, right? Well, I figured it out right away. I kept waiting for the plot to change, or to develop into something else. But, that was the entire plot. This all goes down within the first 30 minutes of the film. I am then sitting in the theater for an additional hour and some change, waiting on a group of cops and detectives to put together what I have already figured out.
Now, this brings me to the cast. Is it sad that the only casting that was decent is Keanu Reeves as down-and-out old-dog cop Tom Ludlow? Forest Whitaker plays Denzel Washington from Training Day. If they wanted Denzel, pay for Denzel. The other cops in the Vice squad unit are John Corbett, Jay Mohr, and Amaury Nolasco. Amaury was the best, but I am not familiar with him. Jay Mohr is a comedian, not really the vice cop type. John Corbett was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Sex and the City. Again, not really the vice cop type. So, this vice squad is being investigated by IA by Capt. James Biggs, House’s Hugh Laurie. Again, what a terrible casting choice. He seemed completely lost in his role as a mean cop. The last main character was Det. Paul Diskant played by Fantastic Four’s Human Torch Chris Evans. He was not that bad. The only problem I have with his character was he does not look old enough to be a detective.
Throughout the film, we are assaulted by two rappers trying to act, Common and The Game. How can you take these guys seriously? We also have to suffer through Whitaker’s impersonation of Denzel, Hugh trying to figure out that he is not on the set of House, and the rest of the vice squad to realize that this is supposed to be a real film. Keanu can do no wrong in a role that requires him to be an alcoholic bum with no emotion. Even Cedric the Entertainer also had a little cameo appearance in this film. The entire last hour was spent chasing down the bad guys only to find out that the bad guys are the cops. Surprised? Me either. It was written by James Ellroy of L.A. Confidential fame, a novel/movie about police corruption, and directed by David Ayer of Training Day fame, a movie about police corruption. L.A. Confidential is one of my all time favorite movies. Training Day is only good on the first viewing, but still decent. But, if you mix these two together, you get flat characters overacting roles that they shouldn’t have in the first place with a plot as simple as boiling water.
Finally, I sadly have to admit that it was a guilty pleasure. Ayer did have a few good action shots. He is a respectable director for action, but I put a majority of the bad acting on his inability to gt what he needed from this crop of actors. Will I buy it? Possibly... for really cheap and “used” somewhere. Verdict: wait for a rental if you want to see this. If not, just watch L.A. Confidential and Training Day. You are really not missing a whole lot here.