User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 80 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 67 out of 80
  2. Negative: 6 out of 80
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  1. Robert
    Oct 10, 2008
    9
    I don't think the critics are right on this one. I thought it was a verry good movie and a damn good Keanu Reeves movie.
  2. DavidS.
    Apr 16, 2008
    7
    Astounding dialogue, subtle characterization, pretty solid acting across the board, but - for a movie whose ending is clear pretty much from the get-go - it gets kind of rushed and incoherent at the end.
  3. BoM.
    Apr 16, 2008
    10
    Finally another cop movie that delivers and is king and raises the bar in the world of police corruption, I can't believe no one else gets it, and sees how great this film is. It doesn't get any better then this, I have to put this one in my pile of all time classic great dark cop films, and this is my new number one, among the greats like Training Day, Copland, Internal Finally another cop movie that delivers and is king and raises the bar in the world of police corruption, I can't believe no one else gets it, and sees how great this film is. It doesn't get any better then this, I have to put this one in my pile of all time classic great dark cop films, and this is my new number one, among the greats like Training Day, Copland, Internal Affairs, Narc, LA Confidential, The Departed, Harsh Times, The Negotiator, Expand
  4. Junior
    Apr 22, 2008
    9
    This was a surprisingly good movie considering who the lead actor and what type of "professional" reviews this movie received. I left the movie with a great experience and I was entertained the whole way through. Yes, at times it was very typical and some lines were weird but it didn't take much at all away from the movie. A must see for everyone because this is as serious and This was a surprisingly good movie considering who the lead actor and what type of "professional" reviews this movie received. I left the movie with a great experience and I was entertained the whole way through. Yes, at times it was very typical and some lines were weird but it didn't take much at all away from the movie. A must see for everyone because this is as serious and realistic as you get in a movie. If you don't catch this in the theaters, its one for your DVD collection. Expand
  5. Eric
    Jun 20, 2008
    8
    This movie is really enjoyable. I can see why the critics panned it: Keanu is a wooden actor and the plot has been done before. The "surprises" aren't really surprises. But the tension in this film builds well, the action scenes are solid and the pacing is great. I don't need to get all emotional over the characters in a police action thriller, I just want to enjoy it. For me, This movie is really enjoyable. I can see why the critics panned it: Keanu is a wooden actor and the plot has been done before. The "surprises" aren't really surprises. But the tension in this film builds well, the action scenes are solid and the pacing is great. I don't need to get all emotional over the characters in a police action thriller, I just want to enjoy it. For me, that's what this film comes down to, it's enjoyable to watch. Nothing super memorable, but it is fun. Expand
  6. LukeS
    Jun 9, 2008
    10
    Very fun movie if you weigh two hundred and twenty five pounds.
  7. MarkK.
    Aug 26, 2008
    8
    Since James Ellroy takes the screenwriting duties it's to no surprise that the script's structure takes a similar setup to L.A Confindental, which means that Street Kings is a very authentic triller with plenty of plot twists to keep you watching throughout putting a satisfied smile on your face at the end. The performances are mostly excellent with sharp dialogue that makes you Since James Ellroy takes the screenwriting duties it's to no surprise that the script's structure takes a similar setup to L.A Confindental, which means that Street Kings is a very authentic triller with plenty of plot twists to keep you watching throughout putting a satisfied smile on your face at the end. The performances are mostly excellent with sharp dialogue that makes you feel the heat radiating from the conversations and fights. The only problem is Reeves, who brings in the same monotonous voice that we've heard before and thus seems to generate a lot of contrast with the other actors. He also looks as tough as a cardboard box. Still, this film is well worth watching. Expand
  8. ScottA
    Apr 12, 2008
    10
    This was a badass movie if training day was badass this one just blows it away. There is action, suspense, mystery at every corner. I was really enjoyed watching this movie and the cast was awesome, come on Keanu Reeves ( Neo the chosen one) was badass in his role. Chris Evans was really good too. So far this is the best movie in theater, it's a must watch!!!
  9. ChadS.
    Apr 13, 2008
    7
    At the outset of "Street Kings", Detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) walks into a Korean gang den and mows down the unarmed men in cold blood. His former partner, a black man, accuses him of being racist. Since the Asian nationals were harborers of sex trade children, Tom's actions are rationalized as being just. The film itself, not just the detective's colleagues, protects the At the outset of "Street Kings", Detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) walks into a Korean gang den and mows down the unarmed men in cold blood. His former partner, a black man, accuses him of being racist. Since the Asian nationals were harborers of sex trade children, Tom's actions are rationalized as being just. The film itself, not just the detective's colleagues, protects the morally ambiguous cop. If the dead Koreans didn't imprison two minors in their compound, the audience would turn on Detective Ludlow. The men he shoots unlawfully needed to be more evil than himself. It's the difference between being an anti-hero like "Dirty Harry"(Clint Eastwood as Bill Callahan) and a dirty cop (Denzel Washington in "Training Day"). But here's the rub. Tom is a dirty cop. But in the context of the LAPD, he's not half-bad. Again, this a result of the film's agenda to suture the law officer's nihilism. To the film's credit, the suture isn't complete the second time around. After a case of friendly fire in a grocery store, Tom goes to the wife of the victim. "Street Kings" doesn't allow Ludlow to be completely redeemed, but will the audience pick up on this? Expand
  10. Nico
    Apr 14, 2008
    8
    Entertaining enough, good twists and some intense moments...decent story about police corruption and street justice.
  11. Jandra
    Apr 18, 2008
    9
    An entertaining thrill ride.
  12. ChrisH.
    Apr 21, 2008
    9
    Great Ellroy adaptation. Vastly underrated, though bears some similarity to 1997's L.A. Confidential
  13. GeorgeM
    Aug 25, 2008
    8
    It's a decent cop drama with enough twists to keep it interesting. The movie has a cold brutality to it, watching Tom Ludlow (Reeves) being used as a instrument of death for the sake of corruption is interesting to watch.....especially as he slowly finds out the truth. Acting is decent all around and despite some cheesey dialogue here and there everything works out well. The It's a decent cop drama with enough twists to keep it interesting. The movie has a cold brutality to it, watching Tom Ludlow (Reeves) being used as a instrument of death for the sake of corruption is interesting to watch.....especially as he slowly finds out the truth. Acting is decent all around and despite some cheesey dialogue here and there everything works out well. The shoot-outs are particular brutal and have a gritty realistic vibe to them, making it all the more intense. This film is definately worth a look.....one of the better " cop / crime dramas" to come around in a while. Expand
  14. JackB
    Sep 19, 2008
    8
    Easily the best cop movie out in the last few years, gritty yet slick and stylish. Keanu Reeves suits the role well and is the best thing I've seen him in in ages. Could have done with being another 10-15 minutes longer but overall very enjoyable.
  15. MikeN.
    Apr 11, 2008
    7
    Not a terrible movie, but not a terribly good movie either. Forest Whitaker was awesome, as usual. Keanu Reeves was his usual self, not that that
  16. BobbyHill
    Apr 12, 2008
    8
    Pretty legit. Lots of twists and turns. Good acting. Highly entertaining stuff.
  17. ElisaG.
    Apr 13, 2008
    10
    Great movie. The action is powerful.
  18. JS.
    Apr 15, 2008
    10
    A dark and gritty look at a rogue LAPD detective that is far more plausible than most give it credit for.
  19. TayW.
    Apr 19, 2008
    10
    The movie hits a serious issue of corruption within the law enforcement. Whitaker and Reeves did a wonderful performance.
  20. JohnL.
    May 22, 2008
    9
    In my opinion, this is one of the best cop movies to come out in years. keanu reeves was the right guy to lead this flick and it was great to see Hugh Laurie take on another role, even if he did have several "House-ish" moments. even Chris Evans (who i didn't like in F4) was well placed. yeah there were some 'whatever' moments but overall, it was a good cop movie and i In my opinion, this is one of the best cop movies to come out in years. keanu reeves was the right guy to lead this flick and it was great to see Hugh Laurie take on another role, even if he did have several "House-ish" moments. even Chris Evans (who i didn't like in F4) was well placed. yeah there were some 'whatever' moments but overall, it was a good cop movie and i thoroughly enjoyed it. my last comment is that they took the graphic violence seriously but not too far and that was also very appealing, considering the tone of the movie. i'm hoping for an extended, unrated cut on DVD. Collapse
  21. JoshB.
    Aug 19, 2008
    8
    Saw this at the cinema. Very good. Better then I expected especially from Keanu. He was very good!
  22. Dec 15, 2010
    10
    great cop movie great plot and acting. the fighting scenes are well done and has some well placed plot twistes. street kings is one of the best movies of 2009
  23. Sep 3, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand 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.
    Expand
  24. 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'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. Expand
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. "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. Reviewed by: Tim Grierson
    50
    Ayer's grim police thriller mostly plays as one long dick-measuring competition. You sense that an infinitely more complex drama exists within the film's grasp, but no one bothered to stop guzzling the testosterone long enough to find it.