A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

film and television
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

DARK BLUE (article first published : 2003-06-5)

Not the most rosy testimonial for America's men in blue, this gritty action-thriller from director Ron Shelton, who gave us those sporting movies Tin Cup, Bull Durham and White Men Can't Jump, enthusiastically wags a finger at corruption in government law enforcement departments.

But, sadly, it does so with such an increasingly heavy hand that any good conjured up by an initially engaging storyline and some good performances is lost.

The time is 1992, the place Los Angeles - in the days building up to the infamous riots, sparked when white cops were declared innocent after being caught on amateur video footage, savagely beating motorist Rodney King.

Scriptwriter David Ayer, who penned the similar themed Training Day, which resulted in a surprise Oscar for Denzel Washington, uses the explosive backdrop of the impending riots to focus on tough, alcoholic, cynical, swaggering Sgt Eldon Perry jnr (Kurt Russell), a seasoned cop who, like many others around him, has been conditioned into shooting first then asking questions in his efforts to rid the city of crime.

He is really feeling the pressures of his job when he is teamed with a new, young, rather dim sidekick, Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman), who joins him on an assignment to investigate a shooting that sets off a violent chain of events.

A gullible idealist, Bobby soon becomes hooked on Eldon's poisonous hatred and it doesn't help that the rookie is the nephew of Eldon's boss, the even more corrupt Jack Van Meter (Brendan Gleeson). About the only good cop featured is an earnest Ving Rhames, as the no-nonsense Deputy Chief Arthur Holland, who makes it his mission to lift the wraps on fraudulence and bring down the terrible trio.

There are some good moments, some exciting moments, most notably in the relationship between the seasoned pro and the rookie, but by the time we reach the story's final strectch, Shelton has sidestepped tackling meatier issues to instead favour a contrived ending.

Russell has not had a role as good as this in ages and it is nice to see him back on form, but his performance, and that of Ving Rhames, are about the only things truly memorable about Dark Blue. The film, which runs for 118 minutes, also features Lolita Davidovich as Sally, a Department of Corrections intake worker, who wants to end her marriage to Eldon because he's married to his job and almost completely ignores her and his son.

t might also be of interest to some that rap singer Korupt has a role as Orchard, a man who makes his Icriminal living under the protection of Jack Van Meter. My rating: 6/10. - Billy Suter




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart