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Street Kings ***
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Rossiter Drake*

Bad Cop, Worse Cop: Reeves and Whitaker abuse the badge with abandon in Street Kings.


Starring: Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Cedric the Entertainer. Rated R.

If you can forgive its stale dialogue, which at times seems so egregiously leaden that it might have been better suited to a Mad magazine parody, Street Kings is a tense, aggressively absurd thriller that pits Keanu Reeves against a close-knit fraternity of rogue cops. Reeves, never a particularly expressive actor, is refreshingly animated as Tom Ludlow, a hard-boiled detective with violent streak neither he nor his fawning captain (Forest Whitaker, in typically boisterous form) seems inclined to curb. Based on a story by L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy, who shares screenwriting credits with Kurt Wimmer (The Thomas Crown Affair), the film subjects Tom to a series of genre clichés – close encounters with internal affairs, an unceremonious demotion to desk duty – but like the best pulp fiction, it’s trashy, fast-paced and impossible to ignore.

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