Film Title: Street Kings
Released by: Fox Searchlight
Tomatometer: 30% (as of Apr. 11, 2008)
Seen On Newspaper Ads:
“An intense, riveting thriller! Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker give powerhouse performances.” – Steve Oldfield, FOX-TV
“The best cop movie since Training Day.” – Jeffrey K. Howard, KCLV-TV
“A full-throttle thrill ride.” – Chloe Houser, KPOX-TV
What I Said:
"Despite only sharing credit as a co-writer, the story has Ellroy’s fingerprints all over it and those familiar smudges become a detriment to an otherwise well-made film by director David Ayer." – Erik Childress, eFilmCritic.com
I was half-expecting not to add an update to Criticwatch today. Prom Night went unscreened for critics (and Bloody-Disgusting) so nothing to pull from that. Smart People got a nod from Paul Fischer this week ("Pitch-perfect. A comic gem") but so what? And if I was playing the game that Mr. Scott Weinberg and I frequently guess about on the Rotten Tomatoes percentages I would have dumped a low 60s number on Street Kings. Wow - was I off. 30% at the time of this writing. That’s less than The Ruins and the latest Tyler Perry film. Truth is I probably wouldn’t argue with most of the criticism of the film, but I suppose I’m as guilty as the next person who liked Street Kings this week. It’s a tempered recommendation for sure and at least I can say I wrote something to explain my position. More than I can for Steve Oldfield, Jeffrey K. Howard and Chloe Houser.
Oldfield is becoming a fast riser in the quote game. I ranked him #10 last year. He’s now nearly midway to 2007’s total and recycling his quick-lipped prose in-between throat gags. "An intense, riveting thriller! Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker give powerhouse performances," says Oldfield about Street Kings. Here’s a taste from last year:
"An intense captivating film. Chris Cooper and Ryan Phillippe give powerhouse performances." (Breach)
"…a smart, compelling film with powerhouse performances." (Black Snake Moan)
"An intense…riveting…adventure." (28 Weeks Later)
"Powerhouse performances!" (Georgia Rule)
"A powerful film! A riveting story, expertly directed by Peter Berg." (The Kingdom)
How DO you wash that taste out of your mouth, Steve? Does Universal give you a special cocktail of Listerine, salt and vinegar you douchebag?!!! We won’t pick on Chloe Houser too much. She’s a first-timer, admittedly using some whorish cliches, but hey sister I like the film too. But Jeffrey K. Howard - you couldn’t come up with a better quote than that? This is the phenomenon known as Memento Whory where a "critic" needs to make a comparison to make his point but only does so with his limited memory. The classic example is saying that Fierce Creatures is the "funniest comedy since A Fish Called Wanda." I don’t need to explain this to the cheap seats further, do I? David Ayer, director of Street Kings, wrote Training Day. Howard had many choices for his Memento Whory including L.A. Confidential, which is way back in that time known as 1997. What about Dark Blue? James Ellroy (co-writer of Street Kings) also penned that film. Have you ever heard of these films?
Hell, the Denzel Washington connection alone could have led you to TWO of those films. Maybe Howard really does believe Training Day to be the end-all, be-all of cop films - better than any of those five films - but that would also mean that he believes Street Kings to be better than The Departed. Do you really want to stand by that statement, Jeff? Or do you want to tap your memory a bit further? Go ahead, we’ll give you some time. Go hit your head really hard and get back to us.