Unfit for a king

Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves) is a drunk and belligerent detective for the Los Angeles Police Department, part of one of the most corrupt units. Capt. Jack Wander (Forest Whitaker) uses his power to bail him out of almost any situation, as seen with the crime scene set up in which Ludlow “rescues” two caged Korean teens.

But the corruption extends beyond just their unit. Essentially the whole LAPD is corrupt, so when a former partner of Ludlow is killed, an unapproved investigation sends Tom down a twisted path while trying to save his own ass.

Still struggling from the death of his wife, he questions the not-so-great culture he’s been a part of for so long.

What “Street Kings” really is, though, is a glorification of police corruption and the stereotypes that revolve around that and the “gang banger” lifestyle.

It is the easily-entertained man’s “Training Day,” priding itself on how many bullets you can pump into somebody, the necessity of excessive swearing and how much racism can be packed into a single two minute conversation.

The script is the source of the problems. It is filled with cliché lines such as, “What happened to locking up bad people?” and “We’re the police, we do whatever we want.”

Those are somewhat expected from a movie like this but when the actors drop the dramatic lines, they come across as jokes. You can tell the lines are supposed to be dramatic because of the context, so there is no reason why it should be so open for laughter.

The acting isn’t bad; Keanu Reeves usually comes under fire for being a dope so perhaps this is why he fits the role of a drunken jerk, though he has done a better job of playing paranoid in other films.

Forest Whitaker is the other big name in the film, and while he does an alright job, you can see him channeling some of the powerfulness from The Last King of Scotland, tainting his image just a tad. Perhaps he’ll come back with another Oscar-worthy performance.

Most of the other actors are thrown in to get people out to the theater. Four minute stints by rap stars The Game and Common contradicted the significance of their characters in advertisements for the film.

Both play villains, but it is hard for Common to come across with a threatening nature. Even forgetting the fact that he is a musician, it was still hard to take him seriously.

“Street Kings” is mildly entertaining if you have just over an hour and a half to spare. There are some decent action scenes, though a few are too stylized. You are still better spending time watching a better street-based movie like “Training Day.”