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Street Kings

A copycat cop movie
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 9, 2008
2.0 2.0 Stars
Street-Kings2_inside
STREET KINGS: This James Ellroy script has been done before — and better.

A film based on a James Ellroy story should evoke its brutal LA demi-monde setting, not the clichés of other films from the same genre. Films like Training Day, which David Ayer wrote before making his directorial debut with this Ellroy vehicle by way of a committee of other writers. Tom Ludlow (a numb Keanu Reeves) wakes up hungover in his squalid apartment. He slips a clip into his 9mm, buys some vodka nips, and ends his day gunning down some Koreans selling underage girls to pedophiles. Bending the rules a bit, but evil has been vanquished, and Captain Wander (a wacky Forest Whitaker) is delighted. Soon he’ll be Chief! But Ludlow’s angry ex-partner is not so impressed. Is it because Ludlow is a racist? (That’s an issue the film never confronts.) Because he and Wander are dirty? As the body count rises, the question of good and evil becomes just another device in a plot that is convoluted and tedious and has been done many times before — and much better. 107 minutes | Boston Common + Fenway + Fresh Pond + Chestnut Hill + suburbs
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