Street Kings

Street Kings is a 2008 American action thriller film directed by David Ayer, and starring Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans, Naomi Harris & Martha Higareda. The initial screenplay drafts were written by James Ellroy in the late 1990s under the title The Night Watchman.

Keanu plays tough LAPD Vice & undercover cop Tom Ludlow who is a disillusioned man after the death of his wife and is constantly drunk on duty. he meets in a parking lot with Korean gangsters who are looking to buy aĀ machine gunĀ from him and who he also believes have kidnapped two Korean schoolgirls. After a vicious beatdown, the Koreans steal his car. This was planned, however, and he has the cops locate the vehicle viaĀ GPS. Upon arrival at their hideout, Ludlow storms in and kills the four gangsters inside, then locates the missing children after the shootout and altering the crime scene such that he killed the gangsters by returning fire. While the other officers in his unit congratulate him, he is confronted by his former partner, Detective Terrence Washington, who no longer approves of the corruption as well as the deception and has gone straight, reporting the problems to Captain James Biggs, ofĀ Internal Affairs, who apparently starts an investigation against Ludlow.

Believing that Washington was “snitching” on him, Ludlow follows him to a convenience store to beat him up. However, Washington is executed in the store in an apparent gangland hit albeit with heavy fire by two gangbangers under the pretense of a robbery. Though Ludlow is innocent and the two were working together to fight back, the surveillance video of the shootout shows him to have accidentally shot Washington while trying to protect him with his .38 revolver, which can heavily implicate him in the murder. The DNA of two criminals known as Fremont and Coates is found at the scene, as well as a large amount of cash in Washington’s possession. It is assumed that Washington himself was corrupt, despite his seemingly changed attitude, and that he had been stealing drugs from the department’s evidence room and selling them to Fremont and Coates. Ludlow teams up with Detective Paul “Disco” Diskant, who has been assigned to the case to join him in his personal investigation.

After interrogating a Latino thug named Quicks, the two are led to drug addict/dealer named Winston “Scribble”, which eventually leads them to a house in the hills where they discover the bodies of the real Fremont and Coates buried in a shallow grave. The condition of the bodies makes it apparent that they were killed well before Washington’s murder. Ludlow and Disco, posing as dirty cops who are willing to take over Washington’s supposed activity of stealing and selling drugs, are able to set up a meeting through Winston with two criminals masquerading as Fremont (Cle Shaheed Sloan) and Coates (Common). Freemont and Coates then recognize Ludlow as the cop that was present at the convenience store robbery, prompting Ludlow to question who Freemont and Coates really are, and in turn Disco quickly states he recognizes the two, and he is shot and killed immediately, along with Winston.

Ludlow manages to kill both the men, who turn out to be former crooked cops and escapes to the apartment of his girlfriend Grace Garcia who confronts him. A news report reveals the killers were undercoverĀ LASDĀ deputies (Wander later states that the two had been in deep cover for so long that they “lost their fucking minds” and had become corrupt cops). Shortly afterwards, Ludlow is subdued by Detective Cosmo Santos and Detective Dante Demille – two fellow officers from his unit. Talking Ludlow with them, the two admit that they planted Fremont and Coates’ DNA and the drugs at the scene of Washington’s murder. This causes Ludlow to learn that Washington was surrendering their captain, Jack Wander, up to Biggs, as they were the ones that were stealing drugs from the department’s evidence room. The two cops take Ludlow out to the house where the two bodies of the real Fremont and Coates were found earlier, for execution. However, Ludlow manages to kill both of them. He then heads to Washington’s house to take care of their supervisor, Sergeant Mike Clady, who was about to kill Washington’s widow. He captures Clady and places him in the trunk of his car.

Ludlow confronts Wander at his house and apprehends him after a brawl between them. He then discovers that Wander has incriminating evidence against almost the officers in the department, along with the judges, councilmen and politicians; Wander had been concealing his unit’s corruption to cover-up his crimes, and in the process has used the opportunity to become the department’s captain. Wander, asserting that he is Ludlow’s best-friend and mentor, attempts to buy off his silence by bribing him with a large amount of stolen money and incriminating documents – which Ludlo had uncovered from the wall moments ago. However, Ludlow refuses and executes Wander. Soon afterwards, Captain Biggs and Sergeant Green arrive at the scene. Biggs reveals to Ludlow that they used him to bring down Wander and get access to his files by opening his eyes to the real corruption going on within his unit. As he leaves, Biggs tells Ludlow that the department does need him.

Badass Keanu before John Wick was just as deadly with a gun. This is a tough violent movie to watch but entertaining enough to get through. Reeves is awesome in this movie as is Whitaker. 7.5 outta 10!

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