Another fantastic film starring my favourite actor – Keanu Reeves. This time around he plays an undercover cop, whose recently murdered wife is impairing his vision to ensure justice. At the same time, he has been implicated in the murder of his ex-partner and must find a way to clear his name. Directed by David Ayer and also starring Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie and Chris Evans – originally named The Nightwatch Man the film was dubbed by critics “formulaic violence bu no shred of intelligence.
Tom Ludlow is an undercover cop in the LAPD. His wife was recently murdered and the department decided on not enough evidence to find the murderer placing Tom’s trust in law on a thread. He saved a group of girls from online Korean sex website owners and becomes the hero of the department yet his ex-partner disapproves of his methods and his formerly corrupt ways that Tom brushes off as jealousy. As the tension builds up he goes after his ex-partner Terrence Washington (Terry Crews) but ends up in the shootout in the store they are both in. Terrance is killed and the department wants to blame Tom. It’s up to him and Detective Paul Diskant to find out who the killers were and find the cause of the corruption in the department.
Keanu Reeves is a fantastic actor. Any role he takes on, he literally becomes that character. As Tom Ludlow, you can sense his loss of faith in the police judiciary system as he drinks on the job trying to bury his demons. His department Captain Jack Wander is played by a skilful Forest Whitaker and plays Tom’s character as the tool. Mr Whitaker is the enemy in this film, and you can sense his corrupt ways when he is on screen. I wish he played the character of Captain Wander more deceitfully rather than as a friend to Tom because the end was a little weak with the confrontation. The inclusion of Hugh Laurie as Captain James Biggs aka the cop who burns cops from internal affairs was a wasted affair. He had no point being in the script, mainly to include his name on the film’s poster. The original title would ‘The Nightwatch Man’ was much better than ‘Street Kings’.
A positive note about the film was the inclusion of Common. He played Cassian in John Wick Chapter 2 of which also starred Keanu Reeves as the titular character. The fact they are enemies in both films bares a striking similarity between both films and intentions of both characters. They both want to kill each other. With the inclusion of Chris Evans, the film keeps both legs on the ground thanks to his Paul Diskant trying to do the right thing. He ain’t no Captain America yet but clearly, the studios saw this in him and made him great.
David Ayer-directed the film and usually creates a mood of which the mystery is revealed at the end. Unfortunately, he didn’t write this film and the script was a mess. The good thing about it, however, was the action. Violence, blood and old fashioned bravery fill the screen. It’s well-choreographed action with some great camera work of which doesn’t skimp out on the gore. It’s slightly sickening but then again it would be boring without.
A good cop drama centralised on Keanu Reeves’s Tom Ludlow who tries to do the right thing with the wrong people. A John Wick prequel perhaps with the inclusion of Common? Great gunplay with some fantastic actions sequences. What else can you wish for?
Should you watch it: YES