Dark Blue

"Terrible"

Dark Blue Review


"Dark Blue" is a movie that asks you to believe that during the worst hours of the riots following the Rodney King beating verdict, the brass of the Los Angeles Police Department -- and a gallery full of reporters -- would have nothing better to do than hold a speech-intensive promotion ceremony for a handful of detectives.

It's a police corruption drama in which high-ranking officers are crooked for crooked's sake and not because they have anything to gain from their vice. Its imagined grittiness is polished to a Hollywood high gloss. Its hard-edged dialogue, intended to be disturbingly frank and nonchalant about corruption and use of excessive police force, has had all its shock value re-written and over-rehearsed right out of it. And its story is stamped from a well-worn template, built around a hard-drinking rogue cop (Kurt Russell) with marital problems, a violent streak and an Academy-fresh partner (Scott Speedman) who has yet to lose his ideals on the harsh streets of South Central.

The film opens with a graphically ruthless convenience store robbery (four people are brutally murdered) that is juxtaposed, for the sake of neon-sign irony, with a police hearing at which Speedman is being let off the hook for a fatal shooting only three weeks after joining the force as Russell's partner. Following a round of drinks and pats on the back with higher-ups that include Speedman's powerful, corrupt uncle (Brendan Gleeson), the jaded veteran and his protege are assigned to investigate the robbery. More specifically they're told to pin it on two black petty criminals, even as they discover, through unlikely clues, that there was more to the crime than meets the eye.

Moral questions arise, doubts are explored and dead squealers are found in refrigerators as Russell zealously grabs the reigns of his character's cracking callousness and rides it like a bucking bronco. More suspects are shot as a matter of routine, a principled and determined Internal Affairs chief (Ving Rhames) threatens to bring Russell down -- which in turn puts the shady cop on Gleeson's hit list -- and Speedman finds himself falling for a beautiful detective (Michael Michele, "E.R.") who he later discovers works for Rhames (gasp!).

Full of such mock complexities and a one-dimensional undercurrent of strained race relations, "Dark Blue" was adapted by David Ayer, (who treated the same themes with far more nuance in 2001's "Training Day") from the book "Plague Season" by James Ellroy ("L.A. Confidential"). And even if Ayer retained any of Ellroy's stylish brusqueness in his script, it's lost in the superficial showmanship of director Ron Shelton ("Bull Durham," "Tin Cup").

When the picture isn't playing like a cliché-swamped TV-movie cop drama (a lonely, muted trumpet solo accompanies Russell's drinking scenes), it's busy telegraphing the build-up to its predictable shoot-out climax in which the only question is: Which main character will end the movie riddled with bullets as the King riots erupt around them, and which one will give a rambling, impassioned but half-crazed speech exposing Gleeson's corruption at that absurdly ill-timed promotion ceremony?



Dark Blue

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st February 2003

Box Office USA: $9.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $9.2M

Budget: $15M

Distributed by: MGM Distribution Company

Production compaines: Intermedia Films, IM Filmproduktion, Cosmic Pictures, Alphaville Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 74 Rotten: 54

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Eldon Perry, as Bobby Keough, as Beth Williamson, as Jack van Meter, as Arthur Holland, as Sally Perry, as Gary Sidwell, as Darryl Orchard, as Maniac, as Deena Schultz

Contactmusic


Links


Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.