Metascore
55

Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    38
    Wastes a moderately intriguing premise by filling it with laughably clichéd dialogue, one-dimensional characters and implausible turns of events.
  2. 30
    Two things come to mind as you watch the first act of Street Kings, the first is how fresh and exciting the movie would’ve been if it was released in 1984, the second is the question, “James Ellroy wrote that?”
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 73 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. Sep 3, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. This is a sort of Keanu Reeves' comeback flick. After The Matrix trilogy ended, he was in a number of unsatisfactory, mediocre works, such as "Constantine", "The Lake House" and "Thumbsucker". This role is rather strange to him, playing a down-on-his-luck detective, a loose cannon who lives from day to day. And considering that, he does a good job. Only problem is that, aside from Forrest Whitaker, there aren't any other equally capable actors here and some are quite annoying as well. Chris Evans, of The Fantastic Four fame, tries hard but fails as the serious and dedicated sidekick det. Diskant. Of other notable appearances there is the rapper The Game, who is at least authentic in his part.

    I was rather surprised by this film. I must say I didn't expect much from it, but it turned out to be a rather satisfactory film-noir thriller. Reeves might not look his part but he acts it. It is also flawed because of the way everyone is either good or bad, nobody is in between. Reeves' character at first seems to be in between but later turns out to be a typical hero. What else can I say? A little, pleasant surprise and a movie that probably salvaged Keanu's career, at least for the time being, after a string of misfired efforts.
    Full Review »
  2. Jul 20, 2013
    9
    'Street Kings' is certainly a cut above most other gritty cop dramas, hardly surprising since it was written by James Elroy, the master of the genre. If you haven't read 'American Tabloid', go out and get it. I'd say it's genre defining, it's that good. Like many like all the big Hollywood stars, Keanu almost always plays himself, which serves him well playing edgy, emotionally spent Detective Tom Ludlow. Forest Whitaker is absolutely brilliant, probably the best role he's had since 'Ghost Dog'. He's fantastic to watch in the riveting, final scene, I think there's great chemistry between Whitaker and Reeves. I loved the snappy, 'street jive' type dialogue, and much of the story is quite believable, if somewhat convoluted, but never contrived or boring. Like another reviewer said, I think it sort of comes together a bit quick at the end, I would've enjoyed another 20 mins to flesh the story out a bit more. Hey, I could watch this stuff all day, it's that good. Yet again, the critics are clueless, 'Street Kings' is a really entertaining film, highly recommended. Full Review »
  3. Mar 14, 2013
    5
    A great cast wasted on a tired story and inevitable twist. The film starts out pretty well, but soon descends into cliche and formula. Still, worse ways to kill a couple of hours. Full Review »