"Bad Boys gets tough in this gritty action thriller"

You've seen one you've seen them all. Cop action thrillers are a dine a dozen in Hollywood, and while some of them achieve greatness (see Heat), the majority are destined to slip into obscurity, serving up plenty of mind numbing action, with very few thrills (see S.W.A.T.).

Whilst not quite attaining the dizzying heights of Heat (lets be honest here - Reeves and Whitaker are not in the same league as De Niro and Pacino), Street Kings packs some serious punch, thanks to some fantastic pacing and a realistic, gritty portrayal of life on the streets of Los Angeles.

Reeves plays Tom Ludlow, an alcoholic Narc officer struggling to deal with the death of his adulterous wife years before. We follow Tom on a veritable action roller coaster, hero cop one moment, prime suspect in a hit on a fellow officer just days later.

As the story unfolds, the plot thickens and you are drawn in to a world of secrets and corruption, unable to tell friend from foe. As Ludlow seeks to clear his name, with the help of Paul Diskant (Chris Evans), the twisted web of lies and corruption begins to unravel, and all that you thought to be true is turned on its head.

Whitaker is fantastic as Captain Jack Wander, who acts as a father figure to Ludlow throughout the film, and special mention must go to Hugh Laurie as Captain James Biggs, an Internal Affairs officer aiming to sniff out the corruption in the unit, and whose real intentions are ambiguous till the very end.

Street Kings manages to rise above the quagmire that so many action thrillers fall into. With style as well as substance, the film keeps you guessing until the final shot is fired. It's Bad Boys without the comedy, and Miami Vice without the pretension.