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Street Kings

A corrupt policeman butts heads with other corrupt cops in this gritty drama

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David Ayer's cop drama set amid a Los Angeles vice squad starts hard and stays tough; there's no room for sentiment (even between cops) in this profane, violent, cynical world. Our guide through this funhouse mirror of corrupt law enforcement is Tom Ludlow (a sturdier Keanu Reeves, finally shedding his laconic surfer style), a go-to cop when a situation needs a little outside-the-system correction. He's got a mentor and protector in his boss (Forest Whitaker), but is increasingly troubled by his amoral role and by an Internal Affairs officer (Hugh Laurie). With a script from noir-ish L.A. chronicler James Ellroy, expect a convoluted plot and a pervasive darkness. Even the fresh-faced rookie whom Ludlow adopts is already assigned to bend rules, and can't wait to hit the streets breaking them. It can't end well, and it doesn't. (AH) [capsule review]

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