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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12%
Worth A Look46%
Average: 12%
Pretty Bad: 16%
Total Crap: 14%

5 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Dark Blue
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by Brian McKay

"A TRAINING DAY clone that improves on its predecessor"
4 stars

It's really no surprise that a movie so similar to TRAINING DAY came out soon thereafter since a)every producer and their coke dealer wanted to cash in on the success of that film and b)both films share the same screenwriter, David Ayer. But while both "cop on the edge" stories share a boatload of cliche's and contrivances, they are also elevated to a much higher plane by the intense performances of their leads.

Russell plays Eldon Perry, an L.A.P.D. sergeant who is up for promotion during the time that four white police officers are on trial for the beating of Rodney King. While some have criticized using this historical backdrop as a ploy to weave social context into the film's dramatic filler, (and it may very well be), it's still a damn effective way to lend a sense of realism to the proceedings, effectively reminding us of an unnerving time in the City of Angels.

Perry is an "old school" cop, a real gunslinger who comes from a long line of cops, lives to "get the vermin off of the street" one way or another, and follows most orders without hesitation - even if it means arresting the wrong man for the crime, or putting down criminals in back-alley executions. He's paired with young cop Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman, unconvincing in the role - and if you're gonna play a cop, get fucking haircut, son!), who allows himself to become dragged deeper into Perry's dirty laundry after Perry covers the poor way Keough handled himself in a shooting incident. Meanwhile, Keough's shacking up with Sergeant Beth Williamson (Michael Michelle of Homicide). Beth happens to work for Deputy Chief Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames in overly-righteous preacher mode), who has decided he wants to clean up the department - starting with the likes of Perry and his corrupt boss, Jack Van Meeter (Brendan Gleeson).

But while Ayer carries over most of his flourishes from his previous work, there's also more than a touch of James Ellroy (author of L.A. Confidential) in the mix, which doesn't hurt. Oh, all the rewarmed cop drama elements are there, but Russell's flair, and serviceable performances from most of the supporting cast, keep this from sliding into an overly-preachy and unintentional self-mockery. Hell, Russell is so good here, he even manages to save that hackneyed "Confessional at a big formal event" speech at the end.

While it doesn't manage to avoid the familiar and formulaic (and honestly, what cop movie does these days?), DARK BLUE was a pleasant surprise to watch, and proved that Russell can save just about anything. Hey, I even liked SOLDIER, and he only had about five lines in that!

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originally posted: 04/23/04 15:33:53
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User Comments

9/12/17 morris campbell GOOD BAD COP FLICK 4 stars
9/29/05 R.W.Welch Gritty cop flick holds you most of the way but suffers from hammy finale. 3 stars
8/13/05 ES Starts with an incredibly disturbing scene, I really wanted those thug bastards dead 4 stars
3/22/05 indrid cold Definitely not fantastic, but still a nice juicy drama very similar to Training Day. 3 stars
9/27/04 Archanist_101 I agree with 'malcolm'... It's a MILLION times better than "Hollywood Homicide"!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
5/11/04 Denise Duspiva Russell is good 3 stars
5/05/04 J.Peckerfoot Nice to see Russell in a different kind of role,shame about the story. 3 stars
4/26/04 Denise Duspiva Russell was good 4 stars
4/22/04 y2mckay Decent TRAINING DAY clone, Kurt gives great performance (but not quite a Denzel) 4 stars
3/02/04 gradstudent Actors did well with underdeveloped characters and script. 3 stars
11/29/03 larry Kurt russel sucks 1 stars
10/30/03 Jinnvisible Kurt Russel, still a contender for the classic veteran actor league comeback ala S. Connery 4 stars
7/19/03 Daddy Plaid Can't we all just get along? I especially enjoyed it since it was free. 4 stars
7/13/03 malcolm 1000 times better than 'Hollywood Homicide' 4 stars
3/27/03 Allison Lafferty Takes forever to get going; remains more disturbing than enlightening. 2 stars
3/17/03 Cameron Slick Kurt Russell gives a good performance. 4 stars
3/02/03 Jack Sommersby Russell's galvanizing performance is only merit in overly familiar crime drama. 2 stars
2/28/03 meathole editor should be shot, Russell given a small pat on the back, Speedman incinerated 4 stars
2/26/03 Poetchuck Well done 4 stars
2/24/03 Kyle Not a disappointment, considering how shitty I expected it to be. 3 stars
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  21-Feb-2003 (R)


  07-Aug-2003 (MA)

Directed by
  Ron Shelton

Written by
  David Ayer

  Kurt Russell
  Ving Rhames
  Scott Speedman
  Brendan Gleeson
  Michael Michele

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