Street Kings (2008)

(In theaters, April 2008) If, during this film, you suddenly feel that this is a cracked-up insane version of LAPD corruption thrillers like Dark Blue and Training Day, do not be alarmed: It is, after all, directed by David Ayer who also wrote both of those movies. Better yet, the film is co-written by crime novelist James Ellroy, who contributed the story to Dark Blue and L.A. Confidential. It’s familiar territory for both men, and it shows: Street Kings moves swiftly through a fairly basic story of high-level police corruption, but not quickly enough for us to point at a specific connection and wonder how the characters are all unwilling to see a crucial piece of evidence. The answer, of course, is that they’ll do that at the most dramatically opportune moment. Still; there’s a lot to like here for people looking for a crunchy (if slightly deranged) police thriller, from a more energetic performance than usual for Keanu Reeves to enjoyable turns by Forest Whitaker and Naomie Harris. It’s not great art, but it’s adequate entertainment, and people who are predisposed toward L.A. Noir will like it well enough.

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