The year is 1992, the place is Los Angeles, and the mood is tense as the Rodney King verdict is just days away. Dark Blue is tale of corruption within the LAPD and how a rookie cop is led down the wrong path by his seasoned partner. Similar in many respects to Training Day, Dark Blue goes beyond the good cop/bad cop scenario. It delves into the logic and reasoning behind the corruption as well as some of the issues facing police departments nationwide.
Third-generation LAPD veteran Sgt. Eldon Perry (Kirk Russell) and newbie partner Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman) are members of LAPD's elite investigation unit, who accomplish their objectives by any means necessary. Perry is hotheaded, racist, and crooked. He routinely breaks the rules with impunity but worries not because he's protected by a good ol' boys network. Perry lives the job and lives for the job, which puts a strain on his family life, especially his wife (Lolita Davidovich). Keough, although green, doesn't lack street smarts and would probably be as dedicated, but he's distracted by a fellow police officer (Michael Michele -- yeah, that's her name). They have an unusual agreement to only know each other's first names, but not to divulge their lasts. (Well, I guess that's less to forget when they wake up in the morning).
In exchange for guardianship by their supervisor Jack van Meter (Brendan Gleeson), the daring duo basically become his goons, doing what he demands, when and how he demands it (which includes executions and pinning patsies). However, the sobering yin to his raging yang is Chief Holland (Ving Rhames), who's got a woody for busting Van Meeter. He knows about Van Meeter's corruption, and is wrestling with the decision to remain and bring it down, or take an appointment in another city.
The movie brings up several good points about cops; how they are loved/hated by the public; how the corruption comes about; and how the political correctness of the day is leaving the police helpless. Conversely the movie also gives us a good look at the "Blue Wall", and the lengths police will go to protect each other, even when they know it is wrong.
The movie follows common clichés, from the corruption in the LAPD and the frustrated wives, to the pissing contests between the two power figures. The pendulum of acting swung from one side to the other -- the actors either overplayed or under acted their parts. There was very little consistency in the portrayals of roles by the major characters. Gleeson represented his attributes as a shady, knavish official quite skillfully; Davidovich and Khandi Alexander (Mrs. Holland) did well in their minor roles as wives who'd had enough. Perhaps the most accurate roles were the extras portraying the citizens of South Central during the trial deliberations and riots.
Dark Blue isn't a great movie, but it isn't the worst. Given the quality of the movies playing as of this writing, this is a good choice.
Czarina's Caustic Comment or Captious Compliment: I felt blue after leaving the dark theater out $8.25.
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