The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 109 Minutes
Genre: Crime Thriller/Action
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): DTS-HD Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Forrest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Jay Mohr
Directed by: David Ayer
Music by: Graeme Revell
Written by: James Ellroy, Kurt Wimmer, and Jamie Moss
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 19, 2008
"Their city. Their rules. No prisoners.."
On the streets of Los Angeles, every cop wants justice. But how they get it is what sets them apart. Fox Home Entertainment presents a gripping and pulse-pounding look at police corruption where no one can be trusted. Keanu Reeves (The Matrix Trilogy, Speed) and Oscar® winner Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Vantage Point), follows veteran LAPD Detective Tom Ludlow (Reeves), a disillusioned cop who sets out on a quest to solve the murder of his former partner. With the help of his boss and mentor Captain Jack Wander (Whitaker), Ludlow begins a crusade to serve his own form of justice, breaking the rules of conduct on a regular basis and avoiding the watchful eye of Internal Affairs Captain James Biggs (Hugh Laurie; House). In the end Ludlow will be forced to question the loyalties of everyone involved and the truth will finally come to pass.
Street Kings looks at what can happen when one man puts himself in position of supreme authority. How he obtained that position and the consequences of his actions is really what this film is about. Tom Ludlow (Reeves) is an LAPD detective who is part of an elite squad that is under the sole command of Captain Wander. This squad handles the cases that demand that extra special touch that ensures that justice is served and body bags are filled with bad guys. Ludlow is his right hand man and always seems to win no matter the cost. The activities of the squad are never questioned by the department and any potential problems are headed off by Wander. After Ludlow single handedly rescues twin' Asian girls who have been missing, from the clutches of a ruthless gang of Korean porn lords problems begin to arise. First, the other members of the unit resent Ludlow going in by himself and grabbing the glory (even though he was directed by Wander to do so). Second, there is an altercation at the scene between Ludlow and his ex-partner Washington (played by Terry Crews) after Washington alleges wrong doing in the handling of the rescue. Ludlow is temporarily reassigned to desk duty until things cool down and subsequently learns that his ex-partner Washington has been talking to internal affairs. He is instructed by Wander and the members of his unit to stay away from Washington and to let things play out. Ludlow decides to follow Washington and attempts to confront him while he is in a liquor store. As Ludlow enters he notices two masked gang bangers coming in with automatic weapons. He approaches Washington and tries to tell him that the store is about to be robbed when Washington attacks him thinking that Ludlow is there to kill him. The two men are approached by the gang members who open fire on Washington and riddle him with bullets. He dies in Ludlow arms at the scene. This sets off a series of events that take the film in multiple directions that all lead Ludlow to distrust almost everyone wearing blue. He eventually learns the truth about what happened to Washington and why. He also had to contend with the persistent Captain Biggs (Hugh Laurie) from internal affairs who has suspicions about Wander and Ludlow and seeks answers. All of this will lead him into a fight for his very life.
This film opened really strong and had some excellent action based moments. The ending didn't live up to the rest of the film and left me feeling a little disappointed. I mean the outcome was inevitable but how they arrived at it was what I thought was weak. The remainder of the film was good enough that I could live with that though. Reeves was good in the lead role and pulled it off with a fairly strong performance. Whitaker is a fine actor but I am not so sure that he was right for Captain Wander. He didn't seem believable when he exerted authority and in light of his later involvement he didn't have the hard edge needed to elicit audience reaction to him. It was good to see Jay Mohr and Chris Evans playing roles outside of their usual archetypes. There is plenty of gun play and fight sequences to keep boredom levels low and adrenaline high.
The rating is for strong pervasive language and violence. This is not one for younger audiences.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Street Kings comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio that has an average rate of 3.7 mbps.
This was an impressive audio presentation that delivered well articulated and dynamic sound. This was not a highly active surround mix but it did make good use of the entire surround platform to elevate the film's level of tension and anticipation. The front three channels carried the bulk of the soundtracks dynamic elements and they hit hard with ostensible potency. The hip hop music used to drive some of these scenes had excellent low bass presence and tactility. Sound effects were realistic sounding with diverse characteristics and powerful impact. Dialogue was crystal clear with affirming intonation that made even subtle changes in pitch detectable. The video had a distinctly (and intentional) hard edged and gritty look to it. The nature of the photography didn't lend itself to vivid and high glossy visuals which at times made it appear less vibrant and eye catching. Colors were kept to basic tones and avoided the use of bright and deeply saturated hues. Contrast was boosted which gave the video a very dynamic overtone. Black levels were excellent which gave dark scenes as well as lighter ones containing mixed content plenty of depth and punchy contrast. Shadow delineation was every bit as good which provided the dark and murky interior and dimly lit nighttime exterior sequences with superb depth of field and visible background detail. Images on screen looked detailed, crisp and sharp with well defined structure and resolution. Fine detail in the clothing, and physical makeup of people and objects had realistic texture and discernible quality. The long distant and panning shots of the LA Cityscapes looked exceptionally transparent with three dimensional perspective and an unimpeded point of view. This was an excellent overall audio/video presentation.
Fox has gone above and beyond to deliver a plethora of bonus supplements on this Blu-ray disc. The features cover the production from concept to implementation and offers a broad swath of interviews from the cast and crew as well as extensive behind the scenes footage and trivia. Some of it is overkill and repetitive but the content is informative none the less. The deleted and alternate scenes are probably the weak links here. The only features offered in high definition are the Blu-ray disc previews and Fox's Inside Look piece. Fox has included a standard definition Digital Copy of the film which can be loaded onto a portable playback device from a PC or MAC.
- Director audio commentary track
- Under surveillance: inside the world of Street Kings - PiP Mode (Bonus view)
- 15 Deleted scenes with optional Director commentary
- 9 alternate scenes
- Street rules: Rolling with Director David Ayer and Tech. Advisor Jamie Fitzsimmons - featurette
- L.A Bete Noir: Writing Street Kings featurette
- HBO: First Look - Street Kings
- Behind the scenes clips
- Street Cred: featurette
- City of fallen angels: Making Street Kings - featurette
- (HD) Inside Look: Inside look at upcoming projects from Fox - Mirrors The Movie
- (HD) Blu-ray Disc previews
- Theatrical Trailers - Trailer A and B
- SD Digital Copy bonus disc
Street Kings is a film that broaches a thought provoking subject regarding law enforcement. The idea of corrupt police officers is scary especially as they are depicted here. This is of course a movie and its intent is to entertain by creating untouchable and ruthless characters. Things are probably not quite so sinister in the real world. I liked the pacing, direction, special effects, and action sequences. The ending wasn't all that I was hoping for but the film didn't hinge upon it either. Fox has brought Street Kings to high definition Blu-ray Disc featuring good quality audio/video and comprehensive bonus supplements. If this type of film is your cup of tea its worth the price of admission.
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