Picks and Pans Review: Street Kings

updated 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/21/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Keanu Reeves, Forest Whitaker, Hugh Laurie, Chris Evans | R | [

bgwhite bgwhite   

]

CRIME

In this lean spring at the multiplex, if a movie can hold your interest for two-thirds of the way, that's not bad. Street Kings—a dark, violent tale of crime and corrupt cops in sunny Los Angeles—does just that before collapsing on itself at the end in a frenzy of overplotting and cynicism. Reeves plays Tom Ludlow, a hard-drinking maverick cop who nails criminals without paying much attention to the niceties of procedure. "It doesn't matter what happens; it's how we write it up," he says. When another cop is gunned down and it looks as if Ludlow may have been involved, he sets out to uncover the real culprit. The answer proves more surprising to him than to viewers. Reeves is effective, though he still speaks in a monotone as flat as a freshly mowed putting green, while Whitaker is silkily disarming as his boss.

From Our Partners