Dark Blue


Mixed or average reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 37
  2. Negative: 4 out of 37

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Critic Reviews

  1. 40
    Ultimately, Dark Blue feels roughly a decade too late with its back story of the Los Angeles riots. Gates’ department had its share of dirty blues, to be sure, but that hasn’t been notable since the smoke cleared back in 1992.
  2. We have heard this song before, know it by heart (sadly, as film still can't keep pace with real-life headlines about fake drug busts and a shady LAPD), and still filmmakers can't resist its rhythms.
  3. 60
    It’s shocking how much Dark Blue hates cops.
  4. 40
    My own view is that, like me, the LAPD was defeated by the movie's incestuously proliferating plots. I've seen Dark Blue twice, and I still don't have a handle on all its comings and goings.
  5. Sensitively directed by Ron Shelton and helped by what just might be the best performance of Kurt Russell's career, Dark Blue is as interesting and successful as it can be within its limits, but those limits make this a more generic film than its makers intended.
  6. 50
    In the wake of TV's powerhouse "The Shield," Dark Blue comes off as something of a retread, with little of "The Shield's" electric fury, edgy camera work or deft characterizations.
  7. 58
    So what will happen? Sadly, some overacting and a bad "And Justice For All"-style speech at the end.
  8. 60
    Shelton has directed Dark Blue in a jacked-up urban thriller style that simply does not play to his gifts. He's a sidewinder, the sort of writer-director who tells his stories through loopy character details and anecdotes.
  9. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie does not live up to Mr. Russell's performance.
  10. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    In short, Dark Blue suffers from a problem that, however niggling, is likely to hobble any thriller: no thrills. [17 & 24 February 2003, p.204]
  11. 60
    If this brutal tale of crime and corruption within the upper ranks of the Los Angeles Police Department feels like an updated retelling of "L.A. Confidential," there's good reason. Both stories spring from the dark mind of American crime writer James Ellroy.
  12. However misjudged and evidently cobbled together in the editing room, Dark Blue does have the nerve to drive right through the riots with Russell's saber-toothed bigot, implicitly linking the two phenomena and not being shy about the suffering on either side of the combat.
  13. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Through it all, though, Kurt Russell gives Dark Blue a bleak integrity -- funny word, given the circumstances -- that almost serves as its redemption.
  14. The movie ends not with a bang but a wimp.

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