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Kurt Russell, Ving Rhames, Scott Speedman, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Michele

Directed by: Ron Shelton
Written by: David Ayer, James Ellroy
Produced by: Caldecot Chubb, David Blocker, James Jacks, Sean Daniel, Caldecott Chubb

US: 02/21/03
UK: 04/07/03

Set in the LAPD in April 1992, it takes place just days before the acquittal of four white officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King and the subsequent LA riots. In this racially charged climate, the LAPD's elite Special Investigations Squad (SIS) is assigned a high-profile quadruple homicide. As they work the case, veteran detective Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) tutors rookie Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman) in the grim realities of police intimidation and corruption. Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Holland (Ving Rhames), the only man in the department willing to stand up to the SIS, threatens to end Perry's brand of single-handed "justice" on the LA streets. While navigating through tumultuous neighborhoods of South Central LA, Perry and Keough must track down killers and face their own demons.

What sounds on the surface a "by the numbers" LAPD flick could be elevated by two words: James Ellroy. The only authentic genius currently writing Crime fiction (eat your heart out Michael Connelly) has his moniker on the screenplay. He's forgotten more LA procedure than most people know. Could be a gem.

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Kurt Russell has shown Scott Speedman the ropes. Now he's off to learn how to beat the crap outta some mope

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If you like your Los Angeles' crime slash cop thrillers deep, down and dirty then Dark Blue is going to light up your weekend.

Dark Blue is also Kurt Russell's finest hour and a half as veteran Detective Eldon Perry worn down by the job, and trying to live up to the legend of his dead cop father. And until the last ten minutes it's a true five star noirish movie up there with Chinatown and LA Confidential in stylishly plumbing the depths of Hell. A. But we'll get to those last ten minutes later.

The flick begins on the day of the infamous Rodney King beating caught on camcorder and broadcast around the world in 1992. This incident, as we know, led to the riots which left many dead and much of Los Angeles as a burning wasteland.

From this real-life background scenario, the great L.A. crime novelist James Ellroy has constructed a complex story of police corruption and racism that rings truer than Waterford Crystal.

Detective Kurt is a good cop/bad cop rolled into the one cop who's doesn't hesitate to shoot dead a mope suspect with his hands up because he knows he's sure guilty of something.

Into the mix, Kurt has a newbie partner Bobby Keough (played by the excellent Scott Speedman) whom he's initiating into his elite police S.I.S goon squad who deal out street justice big time. Kurt's nemesis is Assistant Chief Holland (played by Ving Rhames in top integrity mode) as the straight cop determined to expose the whole shenanigans - and move up from Assistant to the top job of course.

The first fifteen minutes is one of the most pulsating, riveting, dialogue free, blood drenched, hyper-violent openings to any movie ever. It makes 'Heat' look like 'Mildly Warm' and I guarantee your pulse will be one notch below cardiac arrest. Then the plot kicks and drives through to the real climax which features a terrifying five minutes of Kurt desperately trying to escape a murderous lynch mob. White knuckles all the way.

The movie ends here or here about - and we have an instant classic. Unfortunately Director Ron Shelton bolts on a slightly hammy feel-good ending that is at odds with all that had gone before. So instead we just have a very good flick. And Kurt. But it's still a MUST go see.


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