By Samantha Ofole-Prince
Some things in life are inevitable – like death, taxes and Hollywood’s fascination with crime and corruption.
In “Street Kings” writer/director David Ayer, known for bringing gritty realism to films such as “Training Day” and “Harsh Times” is back on the mean streets of East Los Angeles with another tale of crime and corruption within the Los Angeles police department.
Reeves stars as Tom Ludlow, a burned out, morally challenged veteran cop who finds life difficult to navigate after the death of his wife. When evidence implicates him in the execution of his former partner Washington (Crews), he questions the loyalties of everyone around him and is soon forced to go up against the cop culture he’s been part of his entire career.
While many movies strive to imitate the culture and customs of cops and crooks, Ayer, who reportedly grew up in neighborhoods like the ones in the flick brings an air of authenticity to “Kings” enlisting seasoned ex-LAPD cops as technical advisors on the film. The slangs, mannerisms and even the styles of fighting all have a high degree of specificity usually lacking in most urban crime dramas.
With twisted plots, surprises and moments of visceral impact, it features a good central performance by Whitaker who brings a rough, aggressive energy to the picture and draws from his own experiences of growing up on the streets of Los Angeles
“I played a cop on “The Shield” for a year and have been on so many drive alongs and had extensive weapons training so I’ve done that research,” claims Whitaker who plays Captain Jack Wander, Ludlow’s superior and mentor in a dynamically demanding role which he manages to brilliantly pull off.