So once again we have survived.

Street Kings

tn_streetkingscountdownlogoAlthough welcomed into THE EXPENDABLES with open arms by action fans, Terry Crews is one of the cast members with the least experience in straight up action movies. He was brought in late in the game to replace 50 Cent shortly after 50 Cent was brought in late in the game to replace Forest Whitaker. (Or at least that’s how it was reported, but I thought Whitaker was supposed to be playing CIA agent Will Sands, and Crews ended up playing Expendables team member and excellent-name-haver Hale Caesar.)

I guess Crews was an assassin in Schwarzenegger’s THE SIXTH DAY, but I already saw that so I couldn’t review it. I’d seen TERMINATOR SALVATION but that’s okay, because he just played a dead body in that one. He’s a big scary looking dude and former NFL player, but he’s mostly known for comedies: he played President Camacho in IDIOCRACY, he replaced Tiny Lister as a Deebo-like character in the third FRIDAY movie, he plays the dad on Chris Rock’s semiautobiographical show EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS. He’s the more huggable Tiny Lister.

mp_streetkingsI wanted to review something close to an action movie, so my best guess was the Los Angeles cop movie STREET KINGS. I knew it wasn’t gonna exactly be ACTION JACKSON, and had no idea if Crews was even gonna be in it much. It turns out Crews plays Washington, the former partner of Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves from THE MATRIX). He’s got it out for Ludlow and he’s blowing the whistle on his corruption. He’s a very important character. The whole movie centers around him.

Well, around his murder, at least. He gets killed about 23 minutes in. He really is expendable. Spoiler.

Reeves plays sort of a bad lieutenant type. You know he’s supposed to be messed up because he has a hard time waking up in the morning, then he loads his gun, then he pukes. He goes to sell machine guns to a Korean gang and spits out an extensive list of old timey racial slurs to prove that he (or the screenwriter) is gritty. At the liquor store he buys three airplane bottles of vodka, a move I questioned until he demonstrated their portability during a gunfight. So I had to concede that he knew what he was doing with his alcoholism there. Hats off, brother.

Almost-Expendable Forest Whitaker is real good as Ludlow’s boss Captain Wander. Instead of the usual macho cop bluster he plays him a little more timid and soft-spoken, and not hiding his fatherly love for Ludlow. Even in a big confrontation late in the movie he has every chance to yell “I treated you like a son and this is what you do to me? You turn around and fuck me in the ass!?” but instead he yells “You’re special!” He makes a pretty standard character type seem weird and interesting.

While celebrating a big bust (Ludlow finds and kills some sicko bastards who have little girls locked up in a cage – then gets accused of excessive force) Wander and his clique (including Jay Mohr with a mustache) tell Ludlow that Washington is narcing him out for some old shit he did when they were partners. Ludlow gets so pissed he stalks Washington and comes after him at a convenience store with a belt wrapped around his fist ready to beat the shit out of him.

(Yes, Keanu Reeves plans to beat the shit out of Terry Crews. Because of that Yuen Woo Ping training he had, I guess.)

But just when he’s about to do it he sees some thugs in ski masks coming in and tries to pull a “I was about to punch you but now we’re on the same side we’re in this together my old friend” type move with Washington, but it’s too hard to explain and before he can do anything Washington gets shot to death.

Of course this looks bad for Ludlow. “I was just gonna break his jaw!” he explains. But Wander and his buddies cover up for him and give him the security video. So everything’s okay! The end.

.

Oh wait. Not the end. Actually, he knows something stinks about this – either Washington was part of some big heroin deal gone bad, or he was being assassinated for his whistleblowing, or possibly something about aliens and black oil or who knows. So Ludlow starts investigating on his own. He’s not even a street cop anymore, he’s being punished by being transferred to the complaints office where his new boss tells him, “The temptation is to be a good brother cop. Don’t be. None of this shit is going anywhere.” Then there’s a montage of citizens complaining about police brutality, and it’s edited with lots of jumpcuts and his bored reaction shots like you’re supposed to laugh about it. Ha ha. Funny old black man doesn’t like cops hitting him.

Chris Evans plays Detective Diskant, the young not-corrupt cop actually assigned to the case. With disgust Diskant intends to cover up Ludlow’s involvement, but Ludlow convinces him that’s not what he wants and the two end up following leads together, gaining each other’s respect and admiration, etc. Turns out Ludlow really has a good cop deep down inside who wants to do the right thing or whatever.

Some of the underworld types they come across are played by rapper The Game, rapper/hat collector Common and entertainer Cedric T. Entertainer. I particularly like the scene where Ludlow interrogates The Game, because he 1. hits him in the head with a phone book, which is mean and 2. takes a beverage out of his fridge without even asking, which is rude. Not that asking would be that much better, because when a cop barges into your house and asks for a beverage or snack it carries with it more pressure than when it’s just one of your buddies, and it’s not really a fair question, in my opinion. So it is rude for cops or soldiers to do that, and they should know better, and if they don’t they’re an asshole. Just my two cents.

Anyway, you know the drill: unfolding conspiracy, trail of clues, scary gangsters, dark betrayals, a very very small possibility that perhaps some sort of police corruption may or may not be involved in this storyline but I mean who knows, probly not, I don’t know why I even brought it up because it’s so outlandish, there really is almost no chance at all that that could be what this story about the LAPD ends up being about, but I mean I only bring it up as a way of saying that absolutely ANYTHING could happen in this story, who knows? Nobody.

The original script was by the crime novelist James Ellroy, was called THE NIGHT WATCHMAN, and it took place in 1995 right after the O.J. Simpson trial. At various times David Fincher and Spike Lee were looking at directing it before it went to David Ayer, the guy who had written the acclaimed police drama TRAINING DAY. And, the, uh, FAST AND THE FURIOUS.

I figure Ellroy was probly pretty high-minded about what he was trying to do here, but then again I found a couple interviews where he said he basically just writes scripts for the money because he knows there’s almost no possibility of them ever getting made. Anyway when they decided to ditch the mid-’90s period they brought in Kurt Wimmer of ONE TOUGH BASTARD, EQUILIBRIUM and SALT fame to rewrite it, and some other guy when Keanu came on to star. The final product definitely feels like a Wimmer: kind of terrible, kind of interesting, a little bit pretentious, but also with some enjoyable ridiculousness like maybe he knows what he’s doing, but probly not. That’s why I like him.

Ayer definitely thinks he’s doing God’s work though, judging from this quote on one of the DVD featurettes: “We’re society’s storytellers. Our communal campfire is the film screen, and as a storyteller I owe it to myself to seek out the best stories and show us new maps of the human soul.”

How is it that so many writers use that fucking bullshit campfire storyteller cliche with a straight face? I mean come on, dude. When you’re typing up your screenplay do you seriously look out the window into the horizon, take a deep breath and think back to your ancestors and their cave drawings about the success of their buffalo hunt? Fuck no you don’t, that’s just some nonsense you heard one to a thousand times that puffs up your chest when you’re doing an interview. There is no truth to that horse shit, it’s just something that hotshots like to say to try to justify their existence to themselves. Do I deserve to own this mansion in the hills, even though I don’t have to work for a living? Yes I do, because I follow ancient traditions.

Come on, pal. You writing S.W.A.T. did not reach deep into the collective unconscious and force mankind to face the fears of his inner lizard brain and sap the power of the primal Freddy spirit of WES CRAVEN’S NEW NIGHTMARE. There is really no similarity between you and the ancient storyteller. That motherfucker stood at a campfire and told his tribe some simple tale that hopefully some of them would pass on to their children some day. You have millions of dollars, an army of collaborators and the technology to tell the whole world your story about the time when Ethan Hawke went into the barrio and a guy asked him “you ever have your shit packed?” It’s not the same thing.

THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS does not draw upon the archetypes of ancient myth. It just draws on the entire plot of POINT BREAK.

By the way, good for you getting to have the real Johnny Utah in your movie. But we can’t avoid this issue any longer, we gotta discuss it. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this movie as a whole. But one thing’s for sure: it is very fucking hard to accept Keanu Reeves as a burnt out alcoholic dirty cop.

I mean I like the guy, I think people are generally too hard on him, and I like alot of his movies. But he’s a teen idol for whom the passage of time has never been cruel. He’s never let himself go. He looks pretty and soft. Having a little scraggle on his face cannot substitute for what years of vodka do to the human body. And he’s the little buddha, he resonates warmth and kindness and shit. When he’s yelling at somebody I just don’t believe him. He doesn’t seem like a mean guy.

So it’s funny to see him do some of this shit, like when he’s chasing a guy that runs across a roof, he picks up a piece of wood and throws it, hits the guy causing him to fall and roll into a bunch of barb wire. So harsh, so un-Keanu! He interrogates the guy, who says his name is Quicks, and of course Ludlow says, “Quicks? Not quick enough.”

It’s so adorable.

Of Chris Evans as Diskant Keanu gets to say, “I should’ve gone alone. I brought a boy to a gunfight.” And okay, Keanu is chronologically older than Evans, but I’m not buying the idea that Evans is more boyish.

For his part, by the way, Evans is good and very charismatic, definitely lifting the movie a little. I’m not sure he could’ve pulled off the bad lieutenant thing either, but he’s not supposed to.

Our Expendable here Crews is good too, but doesn’t get much time to work. He has to come across as a threat but leave a little hint that he’s actually trying to do the right thing, but then he disappears before he can go any further than that. I guess it makes you want to see him do well in something like THE EXPENDABLES where hopefully he gets more opportunities to shine.

I don’t think STREET KINGS tells us anything we didn’t know about police corruption or Los Angeles, or does much of anything new with the police procedural or the conspiracy thriller or what have you, and it’s not a hugely satisfying mystery. But admittedly the filmatism is pretty solid, most of the acting is good and the story kept me interested even at its sillier moments. As far as new maps of the human soul go it’s passable I guess. I don’t know that much about geography though.

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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 11th, 2010 at 1:16 am and is filed under Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

58 Responses to “Street Kings”

  1. Well this sounds like something I might consider accidentally flicking through the channels to see ten or so seconds of, if it ever comes on TV and I happen to be watching something else at the time and the adverts come on. Although I do get wet at the thought of Keanu playing a dirty cop.

    Did anybody ever see that film “The Watcher” in which Keanu plays a serial killer? It’s unintentional comedy gold because of the scenes where Keanu gorms his way through the “kill” scenes. I mean, this guy is supposed to have spend ridiculous amounts of time setting up the murders he commits; you’d think there’d be some kind of work satisfaction in it for him! But no, he goes through each and every one with his face set in an identikit scowl. Cute? Maybe. Convincing? Nope. Sexy? DUDE!

    Talking of which, I still have yet to watch “Kill Switch”. I did see “Detour” last night though, as part of my foreign horror movie binge. Erm… I really have nothing much to say about that movie. It’s not particularly interesting, particularly bad, or particularly good. It has what’s got to be one of the most predictable “twists” ever. The two main characters are likeable enough but act in ways that are laugh-out-loud idiotic at points, and the movie’s not good enough to excuse or divert your attention away from this.

    Oh, and it’s one of those films where there’s creepy music pretty much through the entire film just to remind you that SOMETHING COULD HAPPEN AT ANY TIME! in gigantic capital letters.

    As a “young people out of their element get stalked by psychos / hillbillies / monsters / zombies”-type movie, it’s easily better than “Wrong Turn”, “House of Wax” and “Wolf Creek”, probably on a par with “Severance”, but not even close to being as good as any of “Hostel”, “Dead Snow”, “Black Water”, “The Descent”, “The Ruins” or “Roadkill”. You guys know my tastes and how much you agree with them, so take that as you will.

  2. you just lost The Game

  3. also, I wish Vern would review IDIOCRACY

    “an EXTRA BIG ASS TACO!”

  4. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 11th, 2010 at 3:08 am

    I just can’t watch anything with Keanu Reeves in it. Even though everyone else made a special effort to come across as gormless drones in The Matrix, Keanu still stood out as a plank of wood.

  5. The magic words: “President Camacho in IDIOCRACY.” That’s all I needed to hear. I didn’t recognize him before, but I am from here out good with Mr. Crews. : )

  6. Paul – THE WATCHER was the same dreck that apparently Keanu repeatedly turned down until they gave him a ridiculously big paycheck. If Johnny Utah thinks your movie is shit, then you might have a problem.

    CC – Is it me or has IDIOCRACY had a good decent post-release life, considering its release by Fox was akin to growing potatoes in a junkyard. I hate to call it a cult movie, but you know its funny how many people I’ve found actually have seen it, much less liked it. Not quit talking faggy.

    Vern – Surely I can’t be the only one who sorta liked HARSH TIMES?

  7. As far as I remember, Keanu even did The Watcher for a very small paycheck, as a favour for the director.

  8. I would Not Call IDIOCRACY a good movie, but it has some funny jokes and one of the Best premices ever :)

  9. RRA,

    I really liked HARSH TIMES too. It has a lot of replay value for me. I generally really like David Ayer’s filmmaking and I’m glad he did STREET KINGS and not Spike Lee because it ended up being a good cheesy cop movie, maybe Ayer is pretencious in interviews like Vern says, but his movies don’t feel that way. They’re usually well-paced, have a good balance of story and character, and have some good natural humour moments to them. HARSH TIMES was a good character-driven crime movie. It had some serious themes about soldier’s post-traumatic behaviour problems but still had enough light moments that it never felt preachy.

    But man, everytime I think about INSIDE MAN I just pray that nobody ever lets Spike Lee near a popcorn movie again.

    And yeah, the end of STREET KINGS where Whittaker is just howling “My wall! My beautiful creation! TEAR IT DOWN! TEAR IT ALL DOWN!” is awesome. That’s just one of those good go-for-broke moments of acting.

  10. this is off topic, but I have some really kickass news for you guys

    I don’t how many of you are familiar with it, but for any gamers in the house there’s a gaming news site called Destructoid that’s my main destination for gaming news

    well the company that created and owns Dtoid is now making a movie news website http://www.destructoid.com/round-1-of-modern-method-s-movie-site-hiring-complete-181091.phtml

    this is something that I’ve been hoping for for a while and I’m tickled pink, to be honest I’ve grown really tired with sites like Aint It Cool and IMDB, I’m tired of all the cynicism on AICN where talkbackers say a movie sucks, but offer no real reasons that aren’t retarded (IE nipples on Batman, flames on Optimus, nuking the fridge etc) and IMDB where every movie ever made is the “worst movie ever”

    I barely read AICN or post on AICN these days, in fact I think the best thing that website has ever done for me is introduce me to Vern

    so before this post gets anymore long winded I’ll just say that I think you guys should check that site out when it goes online

  11. CJ Holden – What did that director do to earn that, remodel Keanu’s house?

  12. Wolfgang – Hey what happened to Ayer’s planned WILD BUNCH remake anyway?

  13. One Guy From Andromeda

    August 11th, 2010 at 6:28 am

    I really did not enjoy this movie. I can’t really tell how this story kept you interested Vern – After i kinda dug the first few scenes it got so boring and predictable so quickly, i watched about 45 minutes of this shit and then just skipped ahead to the end, just to confirm that yes, “SPOILER” his boss was in it from the start. Who knew? Who cared?

    The worst they do here is to make Hugh Laurie play a cop who just turns out to be exactly like doctor House. They even introduce him in a hospital, making it seem like he’s a doctor at first, then it turns out he’s IAD. Get it? It’s House, but he’s a cop! Storytelling gold.

    A waste of millions.

  14. White Chicks was gawdawful, but Crews stood way, way above the rest of that dreck. One of those “Who IS that guy?” performances that had to come from the actor because no one else came off well at all.

    And thank you for calling out that communal campfire earnestness. “New maps of the human soul.” Lordy.

  15. Hey! I just watched this last week after deciding “it was time to catch up with cop movies I missed”.

    It was terrible. Every cop cliche is in here, and you know how the entire thing is going to wrap up within 10 minutes.

    I watched it right after DARK BLUE with Kurt Russell, which, while not particularly good (especially the last 2/3rd’s — bleeech! *SPOILER* Who watches his partner go down in a hail of bullets, and without even bothering to call it in, goes directly to a podium to deliver a speech WITHOUT MENTIONING ANYTHING ABOUT IT?) at least had a strong lead and a great start. This movie had none of those things.

    And Chris Evans and Keanu Reeves are horribly matched as partners and both spend their scenes staring at each other like they don’t know what words mean. The only good part of this movie is Jay Mohr and his moustache, which were both underutilized throughout.

    The best James Ellroy adaptation is COP with James Woods — my oh my is that an unheralded classic of gritty 80’s cop thrillers. Make more movies like that, people of earth.

    “The good news is yes, I am a cop and I have to take you in. The bad news? I’m suspended and I don’t give a fuck!”

  16. Hunch – I’m not a huge fan myself, but “LA Confidential” didn’t tickle your fancy?

  17. I pretty much liked STREET KINGS. Yeah, Keanu was miscast as usual (he’s made a career of it) but I liked his hustle. Good effort out there, big guy. And I thought the shootouts were well done.

    But yeah, COP is awesome. I love how much of a fucking prick Woods is. That scene where the Poor Woman’s Susan Sarandon is going on and on about guardian angels and the beauty of humanity, and you can see him simultaneously rolling his eyes and humoring her to a) get information and b) get laid is a some great capital-A Acting.

  18. I saw The Expendables last night. Can’t wait to see Vern’s review of it!

  19. Yeah, nothing can make me watch WHITE CHICKS, but I saw this scene once and thought Crews was pretty funny in it:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTykzD6TlZM

  20. I think the (mis)casting of Keanu is part what made the movie fun. We’ve seen Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson play this cliched burnout toughguy cop a million times, but seeing a good-looking guy with a surfer voice in this type of role gave it a unique personality.

    But then again, I get immense joy out of most of Keanu’s wooden performances. I think I watched DEVIL’S ADVOCATE a million times when I was a teenager. When he hollers in that Southern American accent it never fails to get a smile out of me. “Whadjoo do tah Mary-Anne?!!? Gawdammit whadjoo do mah wahf!!?!!” It’s right below Cage’s CON AIR voice for my favorite movie Southern accents.

  21. Wolfgang: My favorite bad Keanu performance is in DRACULA where he has to attempt an upper crust British accent: “I have SEEN many strange things, sir. WOLVES chasing me through some blue INFERNO!”

    But I like Keanu. How can you not? Have you heard some of the stories about this guy? He’s like a fucking saint. We should all be half as generous and humble as this struggling bassist.

  22. I’m surprised no one mentioned Hugh “House” Laurie was in this. If I remember correctly, the movie was kinda sold as his first big non-House role.

    I don’t know how burned out Keanu seems in this one (ain’t seen it myself) but I do have to say I actually bought him as a degenerate gambling addict loser in the surpisingly decent yet poorly named HARDBALL. So while I can’t vouch for him here, I take issue with the idea that he can’t play someone down-on-his-luck. Maybe it’s just the flavor of degenerate loser which makes the difference — alchoholic badass cop is a pretty different vibe than pathetic gambling addict, and I can imagine scruffy Keanu works better as the latter than the former.

  23. One Guy From Andromeda

    August 11th, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Wow, i really AM invisible!

  24. Who said that? Hello? Is there somebody there? Quit screwing around, you guys! This isn’t funny!

  25. One Guy — I would have sworn that comment was not there when I posted, you comment ninja.

  26. Mr. Subtlety,

    It’s been a few years since I saw STREET KINGS, so maybe my memory isn’t the sharpest. But I remember his character in it just coming across more as a macho bastard under immense pressure than a true hard-boiled self-hating divorced alcholohic burnout cop. Or at least that’s how the role came out with him playing it instead of Mark Walhberg or whoever they always get, and Reeves didn’t do badly with it actually. But like I said, I like the guy, he’s got a strange charisma that somehow grows from very wooden behaviour and I find his acting style is just one of those things you either get into or not.

    I’m really glad he got to play Neo and not their first choices of John Depp and that X-Files guy.

    Mr. Majestyk,

    Yeah, Keanu’s had a rough life. He’s been prettymuch surrounded by death and sadness since he was a teenager. And he does always seem genuinely excited about his job and like he shows up ready to work.

    People make fun of him a lot, but I’m always happy to see him movies. He’s strangely equally amusing when he’s right for a role as when he’s wrong. Like when he shows up in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, it’s all kinds of wrong but I wouldn’t want it any different.

  27. Crews’ performance in Idiocracy is so good-natured and hilarious, it made me an instant fan for life. (He was also great in BAADDAASSSSS!!!, which seems like a movie right up Vern’s ally if there ever was one) I was so excited he was cast in T4, and then when you find out he plays a dead body 10 minutes in, I actually busted out laughing in the theatre. Possibly because he kinda didn’t really seem like he was dead, just really tired.

  28. BTW, here is an interesting interview with Terry crews, that he gave a few months ago, where he talks about his acting career.

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/terry-crews,41692/

  29. I gotta say when I saw this in theaters I found it pretty enjoyable, just for how ridiculous and over-dramatic everything comes across. The heightened sense of reality was silly in an almost charming way. That doesn’t mean I’d go out recommending this to all my friends, but I can definately say that there was no point during the film that I felt bored.

  30. This might sound sarcastic but I honestly think that Keanu Reeves’ best performance is as Ortiz the Dog Boy in Freaked.

  31. I’d call my favorite Reeve’s performance his absolutely deadpan new age dentist in THUMBSUCKER. At the time, I wasn’t sure if Keanu knew how hilarious his performance was or if they just forgot to tell him it was a comedy, but nowadays I’m pretty sure he was in on the joke. The movie itself is a pretty weak attempt at an hipster Indie dramedy, but Keanu fucking owns that shit and makes the rest of the cast (including Vince Vaugn, Vincent D’Onofio, Bejamin Bratt, Tilda Swinton, etc) look like wannabe Indie chumps.

    Also, reading that Terry Crews interview, I have to say I would watch the shit out of his proposed President Camacho origin spin-off film.

  32. ‘He’s not even a street cop anymore, he’s being punished by being transferred to the complaints office where his new boss tells him, “The temptation is to be a good brother cop. Don’t be. None of this shit is going anywhere.”’
    Man, real life desk cops must get really annoyed when their jobs get mocked in cop movies. Maybe when we’re more enlightened, someone can make a “beaurocratic thriller” about a desk sergeant piecing together irregularly filled in paperwork to uncover corruption. I can imagine the trailer now…
    “How could you do this to one of your own? You were supposed to be my brother!”
    “And YOU were supposed to include FORM 24C!”

  33. Reeves is not a great actor, but I do feel he gets generally underrated, mostly because he never shook the BILL AND TED image. Honestly, LOOKING OVER HIS his filmography, I see few personal favorites:

    SPEED
    POINT BREAK
    MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
    BILL AND TED’S BOGUS JOURNEY
    A SCANNER DARKLY

    That’s five movies I unabashedly love, that I think he was good in, plus I’d also have generally positive things to say about EXCELLENT ADVENTURE, THE MATRIX, RIVER’S EDGE, FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA’S BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, PERMANENT RECORD and STREET KINGS. There’s a lot of crap on his resume, too, but I’d say it’s a pretty good record for a mainstream American movie star.

  34. Stu — one of the many things I love about HOT FUZZ is the fact that his civic-mindedness and commitment to correct bureacracy are a huge part of what makes him an actually effective cop (and probably makes convictions a little more likely, too). They brilliantly juxtpose his studious effectiveness against the standard conventions of play-by-your-own-rules types, and then turn around and have him just give in to the cliche. Genius! It would be fun to do a serious movie about such a person, though. Im sure there is one but I can’t for the life of me think what it would be.

  35. I love that rockin’ paperwork montage.

  36. Terry Crews is in the movie GAMER, he plays a murdering psycho puppet controled by Michael C. Hall.
    GAMER is fun.

  37. After reading VERNs review of GAMER and the reaction most of you guys had watching it, I feel pretty alone…

  38. Higharolla Kockamamie

    August 11th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I really liked Keanu in this movie, I didn’t ever really think the man was miscast while I was watching it, that line where Ghost Dog is telling his favorite Keanu Reeves story about the time he beat up all those black people and threw them out windows like some old action movie really sold the character to me as this not too bright but stupid tough cop who just sort of does his thing, corrupt as it is, possibly with no realization that it is so, truckin’ along with his personal code of shooting minorities and whatnot. I wish I could get my hands on James Ellroy’s version of the script and see how much of Ludlow’s characterization comes from him, because the character is pretty reminiscent of a lot of the qualities present in the police characters in some of his writing. And I can’t help but love those lines about Ludlow being the “last of the ghetto gunfighters” to me it paints Ludlow as a man rooted in the ideology of the western, that his actions are defensible and even acceptable simply because they may be by his own broken moral compass ‘right’, like that “I was just gonna break his jaw!” bit, to him that silly macho shit is okay and right, Ludlow is probably confused why Wander seems so exasperated by his constant foolish behavior. Or maybe I’m full of shit and projecting all this onto a bland movie to make it more interesting to me, I never can tell.

  39. I like it, Travis. I even bought it and watched it again. I think it’s even better the second time.

  40. Didn’t Elliot Ness bust Capone with a paper chase? And maybe Sean Connery chewing up the scenery.

  41. Hunch: I’m glad to see somebody else loves COP! I think it’s James Woods’ signature performance; gritty, intense, and funny.

  42. Travis I fucking hated Gamer the first time. Then when I realized it was my own damn fault(I was expecting Gerard Butler’s Crank), I watched it again and bloody loved it!

    How can you not love a film where Zoe Bell gets her head blown off?

  43. @Paul — I only say LA CONFIDENTIAL once when it first came out, and couldn’t for the life of me understand what the fuss about Perhaps it’s time to revisit it, or perhaps I should just slam a King Cobra and watch COP again

    @Mr Subtlety — House the Doctor basically played House the Cop in this

    @Wolfgang — There’s a couple references in STREET KINGS to drunk driving and another person carelessly causing the death of Keanu’s character’s wife. Mirroring somewhat what had happened in Keanu’s real life.

    @W.S. – Agreed (“Squirrel!!!!”)

  44. Hunch,

    Yeah, you should see LA CONFIDENTIAL again. Then watch COP!

  45. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 11th, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Yeah, watch LA Confidential again, its well worth a second chance.

  46. Jareth Cutestory

    August 11th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Another under-rated Keanu performance is in I LOVE YOU TO DEATH. It’s not all that different from Bill and/or Ted. I forget which. Anyway, Reeves’ interplay with William Hurt is great in that film.

  47. Jareth,

    Keanu was Ted “Theodore” Logan, FYI.

  48. I love how “Theodore” is Ted’s nickname, not the other way around.

    But I really don’t think Bill knows what “esquire” means.

  49. Keanu was also in the comedy drama PARENTHOOD, where he famously said
    “You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father. ”
    Amen.

  50. Ace Mac Ashbrook – HELL FUCKING YES. I mean seriously, there is someone alive who doesn’t like L.A. CONFIDENTIAL?

  51. I worked in a liquor store once, and there would be guys (committed alcoholics, to be accurate) coming in every couple of hours to buy an airplane bottle or two of whatever booze they drank. I always wondered why they wouldn’t just buy a pint or half-pint, to save money and reduce trips to the store, and when I asked a guy one day, he said, “If I bought a bigger bottle I’d drink it all.” Which kind of made sense at the time.

    I’d have been much more convinced if the answer was, “Because it’s more convenient in the event of a gunfight.”

  52. Jareth Cutestory

    August 11th, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Dan. One day I’ll return the favor. Then we can say we’ve truly been excellent to each other.

  53. Even though Ellroy originally wrote this, I thought it was interesting that STREET KINGS plays as a kinda alternate future for the characters of the Ayer-scripted TRAINING DAY. Keanu could be Ethan Hawke’s character, had he *SPOILER* decided to take the money and keep his mouth shut and roll along with Denzel and his crew. A few years go by, Denzel’s character gets promoted, and the guilt starts piling on Keanu/Ethan until he’s become an alcoholic shell of his former self and that’s where Street Kings begins.

  54. HUNCH,

    Thanks mate. I forgot whether they even mentioned him drinking or having some dead woman he loved. I don’t remember the character really rolling around in his own tragedy like Martin Riggs putting guns in his mouth or whatever. I just remember the character seeming more like a macho guy who was rough around the edges but not on the verge of a breakdown or any kind of Bad Lieutenant junkie screwup. But like I said, I saw it once when it came out and don’t have perfect recall on it.

    I’ll actually probably watch this one again now.

  55. I’m actually reading Ellroy’s new one right now, BLOOD’S A ROVER. It’s good stuff so far.

  56. i laugh just thinking about idocracy. a favourite of the low-to-middle-brow realm.

  57. hey Wolfgang I’m late in responding to this, but what was so bad about Inside Man? I thought it was an ok heist flick that’s biggest problems were being a bit pedestrian and forgettable

    of course some parts of it were unintentionally funny, like that admittedly catchy but out of place Bollywood song at the beginning, that ridiculous fake GTA type game that that kid was playing on his PSP and that scene where it looks like Denzel Washington is on rocket skates

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