Sunday, 26 April 2009

Street Kings ** (For The Crawley Observer)

This film's genre sits somewhere between a gangster and an action movie so if that's your thing then it will almost tick the boxes. When the action kicks in it is extremely intense and graphic. However, with the exception of a few extremely well shot shooting scenes at the end, the middle of the movie seems to give up and has a sense of nothingness about it.

What is impressive, especially coming from an American movie, is that the police forces aren't made out to be perfect and flawless. So you don't feel the need to sign every time a policeman manages to miraculously survive a more than likely death action scene. And with believable gangster-like characters playing some cruel roles, including Noel Gugliemi and Cedric the Entertainer, the film is quite interesting to watch.

However, considering Keanu Reeves plays the lead detective within this film, his connection with the audience is lost from the very beginning. He has a dislikeable character, which combined with appearing unable to act in certain disguises within the story of the film, he doesn't seem to portray his actual job as a detective well at all. It all seems forced and becomes hard to watch as his role within the film slowly loses momentum.

This film is dominated by lead males playing police officers and gangster like characters, staying very much true to type. However, the introduction of the female characters brings a depth of emotion which creates a deeper level to this film. Naomie Harris produces the fear and moral dilemmas well that are needed for the storyline, as well as being real sentiment to this masculine narrative.
And the sensitive topic of racism and relationships running throughout the film seems to lend focus and reasoning for the somewhat brutal scenes of murder, drug dealing and dishonesty.

This film catches you at the very beginning but slowly loses its appeal by having a storyline which doesn't seem to be clear in it's aims. Throughout it you don't appreciate what the characters have set out to do, although for an action film, the ending is reassuringly good. Nonetheless, you don't feel as if you have grasped the film and can truly understand why men are being wrapped in barbed wire or even more puzzling, why they are being shot for running a corner shop.

Street Kings is a film wherein if you're interested in seeing guns, fights, drugs and a lot more controversy it's perfect. If not, then you will more than likely come away not really sure what it was all about and whether it was worth it.

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