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Dark Blue Review

By Shawn McKenzie 02/21/2003

I have the highest respect for cops.  I think they have a thankless job that I wouldn’t do in a million years.  I do realize that there are bad cops out there, but this movie, Dark Blue, may have gotten a little carried away.


It’s five days before the infamous 1992 acquittal of four white officers in the beating of black motorist Rodney King and the riots that followed in Los Angeles.  The LAPD's elite Special Investigations Squad (SIS) is assigned a high-profile quadruple homicide at a liquor store.  The case is farmed off on veteran detective Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) and his new partner, rookie Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman.)  Eldon is a corrupt cop who is not above fudging police reports and blackmailing lawyers in order to get his job done.  He doesn’t see criminals as being worthy of living, and he tries to teach his young partner how to administer his version of justice.  One of the people who is in his way is Assistant Chief Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames), the only man in the department willing to stand up to the SIS and its equally corrupt leader Jack Van Meter (Brendan Gleeson.)  Both Eldon and Holland are having marital problems.  Eldon’s wife, Sally (Lolita Davidovich), is growing tired of his alcoholism and corruption.  Holland’s wife, Janelle (Khandi Alexander) is still upset over an affair that he had five years ago, and is contemplating divorce.  As for Bobby, he has a different set of female problems.  He is casually dating a fellow cop named Beth (Michael Michele.)  They both don’t know any more about each other than their first names, until Sgt. Beth Williamson, Holland’s assistant, is given the responsibility to investigate the possible corruption of Det. Eldon Perry and Det. Bobby Keough.  This kind of puts a kink in their relationship.  Eldon and Bobby have to try to devote their attention to tracking down the two liquor store killers, Orchard (Kurrupt) and Sidwell (Dash Mihok), while dealing with their own problems and the higher corruption of their boss, Van Meter.


I thought that the characters in this movie were highly exaggerated.  The thing that makes the corrupt cops in the movie Training Day and the FX TV show “The Shield” is that the characters are a little more subtle.  That’s not to say they aren’t memorable; I’d hate to get on the bad side of “The Shield’s” Vic Mackey.  It’s just that these characters in this movie were so caricatured.  Right from the start, after a shooting inquiry hearing, the cops all sit around bragging about their corruption.  It was a little too much to take.


There was an element in the movie that I haven’t seen before.  Eldon got to see the face of corruption in his boss, Van Meter, which made him question what he himself was doing.  I honestly think if Captain Aceveda on “The Shield” were more corrupt than Vic, all Vic would do would be to figure a way to get rid of him, instead of realizing what he was doing himself.


One other bit of kudos I will give the movie is the music.  Since it was set in 1992, all of the music was late ‘80s/early ‘90s gangsta rap.  A loit of the songs I heard in this movie were songs I hadn’t heard in a while, and it reminded me of a time when rap music was bigger bass fun stuff.


Aside from the exaggerated characters and slight overacting (even from Russell, an actor I really like), Dark Blue isn’t a bad movie.  It’s just an interesting movie to go see and think about.  If you are a cop though, you will either be highly offended, or you will strain your eyes from them rolling out of your head.

Ratings System:


Catch this movie at the theater if you can...

Wait until it comes out on video...

Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...

Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!

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