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Mixed or average reviews - based on 28 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 73 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In Street Kings, a police thriller directed by David Ayer, Keanu Reeves plays Tom Ludlow, a veteran LAPD Vice detective. Ludlow sets out on a quest to discover the killers of his former partner, Detective Terrance Washington. Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker plays Captain Wander, Ludlow's supervisor, whose duties include keeping him within the confines of the law and out of the clutches of Internal Affairs Captain Biggs (Hugh Laurie). Ludlow teams up with a young Robbery-Homicide detective (Chris Evans) to track Washington's killers through the diverse communities of Los Angeles. Their determination pays off when the two detectives track down Washington's murderers and confront them in an attempt to bring them to justice. (Fox Searchlight) Expand
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. 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.
  3. A solid contemporary crime drama.
  4. 58
    After all the actorly fireworks, Street Kings concludes that the LAPD is an institution where even the well-intentioned can't work clean. Okay. What else?
  5. 58
    For what's essentially a bad movie, Street Kings is fairly tight and energetic.
  6. 50
    There are two kinds of police officers in David Ayers and James Ellroy's convoluted, ultraviolent tale of corruption within the LAPD: dirty cops and dirtier ones.
  7. 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?”

See all 28 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 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 Expand
  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. Expand
  3. 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
  4. Dec 5, 2011
    6
    I agree that its an underrated film but critics but its not that good. Solid acting and Reeves is a good lead for the film. However the script is really all over the place and it never really hits as it should have, In fact its actually a bit confusing at times because you dont know where they are gonna go with it. Overall, It was a solid action flick but thats about it. Expand
  5. 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. Expand

See all 30 User Reviews

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