The world of corrupt cops comes to the big screen again, this time set against the backdrop of the spark that set everything off: the Rodney King trial. Kurt Russell, Scott Speedman and Ving Rhames star in Dark Blue.
Two years after Denzel Washington wowed audiences with his performance of a bad cop in Training Day, Kurt Russell tries on the character, though with different intentions and different degrees of involvement. While Russell does not absolutely command the scene like Washington did, he turns in one of his best performances to date as a morally-struggling man that is facing the possibility of losing everything. What would you do?
It may not be fair to compare Dark Blue to Training Day, since Dark Blue is much more of a police conspiracy thriller than a man-on-man action-drama like Training Day, but undoubtedly others will compare it, so here we go...
Dark Blue has a good plot, good acting and some decent suspense, but lacks the vigor that Antoine Fuqua injected into Training Day. Russell is powerful, but not nearly as powerful as both Washington and Ethan Hawke were.
The movie also stumbles at times, going into long, slow sections that are more dramatic than they need to be. Rhames, will doing a good job overall, walked around as if he had a stick up his ass. Speedman looked like a mini-me version of Kurt Russell, and only Kurt Russell - and I mean only him - can pull off that hairdo. I was expecting more action, and I was expecting more surrounding the Rodney King trial. The best scenes are at the end when the verdict is read and the riots begin, but then the movies departs from the entire situation and that is it.
Dark Blue is a decent thriller but lacks the edge to be anything more than a rental. Kurt Russell's performance is worth watching, but the movie itself is borderline.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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