Street Kings

Last updated
Street Kings
Street KingsMP08.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by David Ayer
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story byJames Ellroy
Starring
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Gabriel Beristain
Edited by Jeffrey Ford
Production
companies
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures [1]
Release date
  • April 3, 2008 (2008-04-03)(Hollywood)
  • April 11, 2008 (2008-04-11)(United States)
Running time
109 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$20 million [2]
Box office$66.5 million

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

Contents

The film was released in theaters on April 11, 2008 and was followed by a direct-to-video stand-alone sequel Street Kings 2: Motor City in 2011, with Clifton Powell returning as a corrupt cop.

Plot

Tom Ludlow is a disillusioned, borderline alcoholic LAPD detective working undercover for a unit known as Vice Special. He meets in a parking lot with Korean gangsters who are looking to buy a machine gun from him and whom 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 via GPS.

Upon arrival at their hideout, Ludlow storms in and kills the four gangsters inside, he then puts on gloves, takes a shot of vodka and alters the scene to make the shootings look justified. He then finds the two schoolgirls locked in a closet. 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, of 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. But Washington is executed in the store in an apparent gangland hit 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.

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.

Their search for the two involves some tough interrogation of a Latino gang member named Quiks, a Crips gang member named Grill and a drug addict/dealer named Winston "Scribble" that 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 Scribble with two criminals masquerading as Fremont and Coates, who recognize Ludlow as the cop who 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, along with Scribble.

Ludlow manages to kill both men and escapes back to his girlfriend's house, where a news report reveals the killers were undercover LASD 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).

Ludlow retreats to where his girlfriend Grace Garcia is staying, and she confronts him. Shortly afterward, Ludlow is subdued by Detective Cosmo Santos and Detective Dante Demille — two fellow officers from his unit. Taking Ludlow with them, the two admit that they planted Fremont and Coates' DNA and the money 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 who 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. But 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.

Now aware of Wander's activities, Ludlow confronts him at his house and apprehends him after a brawl between them. He then discovers that Wander has incriminating evidence against almost all the officers in the department, along with the judges, council members and politicians. Wander planned to use the information to become LAPD chief and eventually Los Angeles mayor. 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 Ludlow had uncovered from the wall moments ago. But Ludlow refuses and executes Wander.

Soon afterward, 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.

Cast

Production

In 2004, it was announced that Spike Lee would be directing the film for a 2005 release. [3] In 2005, it was announced that Oliver Stone was in talks to direct the film. [4] However, Stone later denied this. [5] Training Day screenwriter David Ayer took over the project.

On February 5, 2008, it was announced that Fox Searchlight Pictures changed the film's title from The Night Watchman to Street Kings. [6]

Reception

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes 36% of 152 reviews of the film are positive with average rating of 5.11/10. The site's consensus reads, "Street Kings contains formulaic violence but no shred of intelligence." [7] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 55 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [8]

Box office

In its opening weekend, the film grossed $12.5 million from 2,467 theaters, finishing second at the box office. It went on to gross $26.4 million domestically and $39.2 million internationally for a total of $65.6 million. [9]

Home media

The DVD was released on August 19, 2008, as a single-disc offering with director commentary, and 2-disc special-edition set with numerous documentaries, interviews and a digital copy of the film. It is also available on Blu-ray disc with all the special features of the 2-disc DVD version. By January 2009, the film had made $14.6 million from DVD sales. [2]

Sequel

The film is followed by a sequel, Street Kings 2: Motor City , released direct-to-video in 2011. Other than sharing an actor playing two different parts, the films are unrelated.

Related Research Articles

<i>Hard to Kill</i> 1990 film by Bruce Malmuth

Hard to Kill is a 1990 American action thriller film directed by Bruce Malmuth, starring Steven Seagal, Kelly LeBrock, William Sadler and Frederick Coffin. Seagal's second film after Above the Law, it features him as Mason Storm, a detective who falls into a coma after being shot during a fire-fight that killed his wife. Reawakening seven years later, Storm embarks on a journey to avenge the death of his wife, and expose the corruption of Senator Vernon Trent. The film was released on February 9, 1990, and grossed $59 million.

<i>Training Day</i> 2001 film directed by Antoine Fuqua

Training Day is a 2001 American crime thriller film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by David Ayer. It stars Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris and Ethan Hawke as Jake Hoyt, two LAPD narcotics officers over a 24-hour period in the gang-ridden neighborhoods of Westlake, Echo Park and South Central Los Angeles. It also features Scott Glenn, Cliff Curtis, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Macy Gray in supporting roles.

<i>Lethal Weapon 4</i> 1998 American buddy cop film by Richard Donner

Lethal Weapon 4 is a 1998 American buddy cop action film directed and produced by Richard Donner, and starring Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Rene Russo, Chris Rock, and Jet Li. It is the fourth and most recent installment in the Lethal Weapon film series.

<i>Dark Blue</i> (film) 2002 film by Ron Shelton

Dark Blue is a 2002 American crime thriller film directed by Ron Shelton and starring Kurt Russell with Ving Rhames and Brendan Gleeson in supporting roles. The film is based on a story written for film by crime novelist James Ellroy and takes place during the days leading up to the Rodney King trial verdict.

Joe Friday Fictional police detective

Joe Friday is a fictional character created and portrayed by Jack Webb as the lead for his series Dragnet. Friday is a detective in the Los Angeles Police Department. The character first appeared on June 3, 1949 in the premiere of the NBC radio drama that launched the series. Webb played the character on radio and later television from 1949–1959 and again from 1967–1970, also appearing as Friday in a 1954 theatrical release and a 1966 made-for-TV film.

Clifton Powell American actor

Clifton Powell is an American actor who primarily plays supporting roles in films, such as in Ray (2004), for which he received an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture nomination.

LAPD Rampart Division Division of Los Angeles Police, California, U.S.

The Rampart Division of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) serves communities to the west of Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) including Silver Lake, Echo Park, Pico-Union and Westlake, all together designated as the Rampart patrol area. Its name is derived from Rampart Boulevard, one of the principal thoroughfares in its patrol area. The original station opened in 1966, located at 2710 West Temple Street. In 2008, the staff moved southeast to a newer facility located at 1401 West 6th Street. With 164,961 residents occupying a 5.4-square-mile (14 km2) area, Rampart is one of Los Angeles's most densely populated communities.

The Los Angeles Police Department was formed in 1869, and has since become the third-largest law enforcement agency in the United States. They have been involved in various events in history, such as the Black Dahlia murder case, and the Rampart scandal.

Edward Hearn (actor) American actor

Guy Edward Hearn, more usually known as Edward Hearn, was an American actor who, in a forty-year film career, starting in 1915, played hundreds of roles, starting with juvenile leads, then, briefly, as leading man, all during the silent era.

Pat Flaherty (actor) American actor (1897–1970)

Edmund Joseph Flaherty was an American film actor who appeared in about 200 films.

Robert Emmett OConnor American actor

Robert Emmett O'Connor was an American film actor. He appeared in 204 films between 1919 and 1950. He is probably best remembered as the warmhearted bootlegger Paddy Ryan in The Public Enemy (1931) and as Detective Sergeant Henderson pursuing the Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (1935). He also appeared as Jonesy in Billy Wilder's 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. He also made an appearance at the very beginning and very end of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon short Who Killed Who? (1943).

Robert Homans American actor

Robert Edward Homans was an American actor who entered films in 1923 after a lengthy stage career.

Emory Parnell American actor

Emory Parnell was an American vaudeville performer and actor who appeared in over 250 films in his 36-year career. He was nicknamed "The Big Swede" and was sometimes credited as "Emery" or "Parnel".

<i>The Secrets of Harry Bright</i>

The Secrets of Harry Bright is the seventh novel written by former Los Angeles Police Department detective Joseph Wambaugh. Published in 1985, the book continues a pattern of Wambaugh crime fiction beginning with The Choirboys that uses black humor to explore the psychological effects of prolonged stress on veteran police officers. As with all his novels, The Secrets of Harry Bright, set in November 1984, is contemporaneous with the time frame in which it was written and includes numerous allusions and references to events and personalities of the time.

<i>Direct Action</i> (film) 2004 film directed by Sidney J. Furie

Direct Action is a 2004 American action film directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Dolph Lundgren.

Charlie Beck Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department

Charles Lloyd Beck is a retired police officer, ending his career as the Chief of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). A veteran of the department with over four decades as an officer, he is known for commanding and rehabilitating the Rampart Division after the Rampart scandal; and for technology enhancements during his time as Chief of Detectives. He agreed to be interim Superintendent of Police in Chicago in late 2019 while the city searches nationwide for a replacement for retiring Eddie Johnson. Beck took the helm of the Chicago Police Department on December 2, 2019 after Johnson was fired. On April 15, 2020, Beck stepped down and was replaced by former Dallas Police Department Chief David Brown, who had been nominated by Lightfoot to serve as permanent Superintendent.

<i>Street Kings 2: Motor City</i> 2011 American film

Street Kings 2: Motor City is a 2011 American action thriller film starring Ray Liotta and directed by Chris Fisher. It is a stand-alone sequel to the 2008 film Street Kings starring Keanu Reeves. The film was released on direct-to-DVD in the United States on April 19, 2011.

<i>Bosch</i> (TV series) American drama television series

Bosch is an American police procedural streaming television series produced by Amazon Studios and Fabrik Entertainment starring Titus Welliver as Los Angeles Police detective Harry Bosch. The show was developed for Amazon by Eric Overmyer, and the first season takes its inspiration from the Michael Connelly novels City of Bones (2002), Echo Park (2006), and The Concrete Blonde (1994). It was one of two drama pilots that Amazon streamed online in early 2014, and viewers offered their opinions on it before the studio decided whether to place a series order. Season 6 was released on April 16, 2020, following a five-day #BoschStakeout marathon and live tweet during the COVID-19 pandemic. The seventh and final season was released on June 25, 2021. An as-yet-untitled spinoff series for Amazon's IMDb TV was announced on March 3, 2021, featuring Welliver along with much of the Bosch creative team.

<i>Bright</i> (film) 2017 American urban fantasy action film by David Ayer

Bright is a 2017 American urban fantasy action film directed by David Ayer, written by Max Landis, and starring Will Smith, Joel Edgerton, Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Édgar Ramírez, and Ike Barinholtz. The film is set in an alternate present in which humans and mythical creatures co-exist and details an LAPD police officer and his orc partner confronting racism and police corruption while protecting a magic wand and the elf girl who wields it.

<i>The Rookie</i> (TV series) 2018 American police procedural television series

The Rookie is an American police procedural drama television series created for ABC by Alexi Hawley. The series follows John Nolan, a man in his forties, who becomes the oldest rookie at the Los Angeles Police Department. The series is produced by ABC Studios and Entertainment One; it is based on real-life Los Angeles Police Department officer William Norcross, who moved to Los Angeles in 2015 and joined the department in his mid-40s.

References

  1. 1 2 "Street Kings". AFI Catalog of Feature Films . Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  2. 1 2 "Street Kings (2008) - Financial Information". The-numbers.com. Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  3. "The Night Watchman Movie - Keanu Reeves to Star in The Night Watchman (Street Kings)". Movies.about.com. 2004-11-16. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  4. "The Night Watchman Movie - Oliver Stone May Direct The Night Watchman (Street Kings)". Movies.about.com. 2005-04-25. Archived from the original on 2011-06-07. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  5. var authorId = "" by IGN FilmForce. "IGN: Stone Denies Night Watchman". Filmforce.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  6. "The Night Watchman Retitled to Street Kings". ComingSoon.net. 2008-02-05. Retrieved 2012-05-22.
  7. "Street Kings". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 5 October 2017.
  8. "Street Kings (2008): Reviews". Metacritic . Retrieved 2014-10-25.
  9. "Street Kings (2008) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo . IMDB. Retrieved 2008-08-01.