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.