Street Kings (2008) directed by David Ayer. Starring Keanu Reeves, Chris Evans, Forest Whitaker, and Hugh Laurie.
Synopsis: Tom Ludlow (Reeves) is a troubled alcoholic LAPD detective who has recently lost his wife. As the story begins, he executes a gang of Koreans that have held two young girls captive. He is corrupt, and covers this up to make it look like he had no choice but to kill them.
After hearing ex-partner Terrence Washington (Terry Crews) is liaising with Internal Affairs, he confronts him in a convenience store. As two thugs coincidentally enter the store and murder Washington, Captain Jack Wander (Whitaker) helps Tom cover this up due to the suspicious nature surrounding it. As the story progresses, Tom acquires the help of Detective Paul Diskant (Evans) to find the killers. Tom wants to seek justice for the killing of his old partner
This movie really is about corruption and blurs the lines of what is good and bad. Tommy does some bad things for good reasons and the story makes us think hard about morality. Do we sometimes have to do bad things for justice? Or even what is justice?
Tom is intriguing despite the cliché nature of his character at times. Time and again I’ve watched movies about the alcoholic cop with inner demons, and this story is no different. However, the fact Tom is corrupt adds another dimension here. There is a real grey area in his actions and this is quite true to real life – albeit on a completely different scale.
This movie showcases an array of serious acting talent, and nobody disappoints (including Reeves). Oscar winner Whitaker puts in a good performance as Captain Wander, and Hugh Laurie does so as Internal Affairs Captain James Biggs. Chris Evans plays probably the most moral character in this movie, and makes an effective contrast when being juxtaposed with Reeve’s character.
I have been a fan of David Ayer since his directorial debut Harsh Times (2005) and more recently End of Watch (2012). All of his films seem to tackle similar themes, and have a gritty feel to them. He also paints his characters as quite flawed, and invites us to question their morality which makes for interesting analysis.
Ultimately this is a story with some nice twists and turns. If you fancy a movie with a lot of police corruption and gun fights, as well as a good cast, then this is the one for you.
By Robert Spence