Street Kings

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

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Critic Reviews

  1. "Kings" covers familiar territory but does so with ruthless efficiency, intense performances and a densely packed plot designed to highlight the moral issues that most concern Ayer and Ellroy.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    80
    A brutal look at police corruption that allows director David Ayer and "L.A. Confidential" author James Ellroy to pool their deeply cynical insights.
  3. After its clichéd first scene - a solo LAPD officer battling a well-armed gang of thugs - Street Kings becomes an enjoyably tough, blood-splattered action drama that revolves around the one good cop at its center.
  4. There's a lot to appreciate in Street Kings, a tight, propulsive action thriller, but there's one thing to marvel at, and that's James Ellroy's command of story.
  5. It’s easy to laugh at Street Kings for its bigger than big emotions, its preposterously kinky narrative turns and overwrought jawing and yowling, but there’s no doubt that it also keeps you watching, really watching, all the way to the end.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    70
    Armed or not, Reeves is the weapon that can go off at any time. That's why Street Kings, though it isn't a great movie, is a pretty damn cool Keanu Reeves movie, one that on the Reevesian action scale measures somewhere between "Whoa" and "Wow."
  7. A solid contemporary crime drama.
  8. 63
    Despite the predictability of the overall story arc, there's suspense and tension to be found between the credit sequences, but the movie is saddled with an ending that is both improbable and borderline insulting.
  9. 63
    A wet, red chunk of pulp that knows what it is and doesn't care.
  10. 63
    Street Kings is nonsense, and yet the crooked, racialized world underneath the soulless mayhem is pretty fascinating.
  11. 63
    The picture may feel more than a little familiar, but Ayer knows how to cook up intense setpieces, and Reeves keeps getting better at the weary hero role he continually gravitates toward.
  12. Reviewed by: Jenni Miller
    63
    If you’re looking for some big, stupid fun, you could do worse than Street Kings.
User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. Jan 11, 2016
    7
    Decently acted Keanu Reeves led Cop-thriller based in LA and involving the corruption of the LAPD, which seems to be what alot of David AyersDecently acted Keanu Reeves led Cop-thriller based in LA and involving the corruption of the LAPD, which seems to be what alot of David Ayers work seems to revolve around. Dialogue and characterization is pretty good with good acting from most of the cast with Hugh Laurie taking the lead with his typical Gregory House-like charm. While the movie overall is good if you like hard-nosed, clear cut cop thrillers, the ending is rushed and a tad bit incoherent. Full Review »
  2. 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 »
  3. 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'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 »