In Street Kings, a police thriller directed by David Ayer, Keanu Reeves plays Tom Ludlow, a veteran LAPD Vice Detective. Ludlow sets out on a quest to discover the killers of his former partner, Detective Terrance Washington (Terry Crews). Academy® Award winner Forest Whitaker plays Captain Wander, Ludlow’s supervisor, whose duties include keeping him within the confines of the law and out of the clutches of Internal Affairs Captain Biggs (Hugh Laurie). Ludlow teams up with a young Robbery Homicide Detective (Chris Evans) to track Washington’s killers through the diverse communities of Los Angeles. Their determination pays off when the two Detectives track down Washington’s murderers and confront them in an attempt to bring them to justice.
It’s hard to take Keanu Reeves as a bad-ass. He pulled it off in the Matrix but that had to do more with a brilliant script than Reeves’ acting. Now throw Reeves into a film about cops, who do whatever it takes to get the bad guy, and you have the formula for a smash. To bad this smash is the kind where you throw a pumpkin off a bridge.
Reeves isn’t convincing in his role that was played to perfection decades ago by Clint Eastwood. I kept waiting for Neo, I mean Keanu, to pull a one-liner ala Eastwood. Something like, “let’s dance homie.” Reeves is once again miscast as the loner who has too much weighing on his mind. Is it me or is every movie Reeves has been in for the last ten years has him playing the same guy in a different costume? Reeves is in a hole he can’t dig himself out of–either as an actor or as detective Tom Ludlow.
It’s a shame that Reeves can’t carry this movie. It could have been a good movie, but with Reeves inability to move Ludlow along in a believable manner kills the movie. It doesn’t help that the script is full of holes. The only person reason to watch “Street Kings” is Cedric the Entertainer. Cedric is brilliant in his role. After watching Cedric you can’t help but wonder if either he or Forest Whitaker might have brought more to the Ludlow role. Jay Mohr proves that he can act when given a character that fits his ability–and wackiness.
“Street Kings” would have been better if it had an ounce of authenticity. We can only wonder if the savior of this movie might have been on board already–just cast as a secondary role.
Watch the “Street Kings” movie trailer:
Check out the Keanu Reeves interview with TV Guide for “Street Kings”: