Street Kings

Rated 3.0

A maverick Los Angeles cop (Keanu Reeves) applies his unorthodox investigative techniques to the murder of his one-time partner; in the process, he uncovers an ugly nest of police brutality and corruption. The script by James Ellroy, Kurt Wimmer and Jamie Moss spices its overfamiliar cop-movie clichés with pungent dialogue, and director David Ayer (who wrote the similarly themed Training Day) gets strong, hard-edged performances from everyone (Reeves, Forest Whitaker as his protective boss, Hugh Laurie as a smarmy Internal Affairs captain, Chris Evans as a straight-arrow homicide detective, etc.). It’s all set to the incessant roar of gunfire (the movie never fires a single shot when a fusillade will do), with the bleak attitude that these dirty, unsavory cops understand the world better than any of us do. J.L.