Street Kings (2008) – 7/10 Keanu Reeves dirty cop thriller movie review

Cast / crew
Director: David Ayer
Writer (Screenplay): James Ellroy
Writer (Screenplay): Kurt Wimmer
Writer (Screenplay): Jamie Moss
Writer (Story): James Ellroy
Producer: Lucas Foster
Producer: Alexandra Milchan
Producer: Erwin Stoff
Keanu Reeves: Detective Tom Ludlow
Forest Whitaker: Captain Jack Wander
Hugh Laurie: Captain James Biggs
Chris Evans: Detective Paul Discant
Cedric “The Entertainer”: Scribble
Jay Mohr: Sgt. Mike Clady
Terry Crews: Detective Terrence Washington
Naomie Harris: Linda Washington
Common: Coates
The Game: Grill
Martha Higareda: Grace Garcia

Street Kings (2008)

Detective Tom Ludlow is the star cop in his ambitious unit and, while they will gladly be a bit brutal if it helps them put away bad guys, the unit has each other’s back. When they learn that Ludlow’s former partner Terrence Washington is cooperating with Internal Affairs about him and Ludlow’s strong-arm tactics, it presents a problem. When that particular problem helpfully goes away, though, it leads Ludlow to dig himself a deeper and deeper hole.


Somewhat forgotten Keanu Reeves dirty cop thriller. Perhaps it was dismissed because of similarities to Oscar-winning Denzel Washington’s Training Day or director David Ayer’s own Kurt Russell dirty cop movie Dark Blue but it had been six years since they were released. Perhaps because critics didn’t like Keanu Reeves (who is good) as a brutal cop. And yet this is a crisp, interesting, well-acted thriller with an intriguing story of a highly effective but brutal cop not, unusually, finding his conscience or becoming a good or repentant cop, but being a brutal cop pointed in the right direction. It’s interesting because it reminds us that our systems of law sometimes have such difficulty in providing justice. We realise that it doesn’t always work as intended but do we want the alternative?

This movie contains sexual swear words, strong adult dialogue and some extreme gun violence, graphic violence, gory and unpleasant scenes.

Classified 15 by BBFC. Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over.


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