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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLUER THAN BLUE
DARK BLUE is a powerfully understated movie, even though it wastes no agony in its portrayal of what happened after the Rodney King verdict---why do people of any color think that they have the right to protest an injustice by taking it out on people who had nothing to do with it in the first place. Scenes of looting, stealing, angry people jumping on other people's...
Published on June 16 2004 by Michael Butts

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3.0 out of 5 stars Dark Blue REVIEW!
Set to the backdrop of the forthcoming L.A. riots in 1992, Kurt Russell is crooked LAPD detective Eldon Perry who is attempting to solve a liquor store robery homicide that has actually been executed by two drug addict informants who are in the back pocket of his higher-up (Brendan Gleeson). When the order is sent in to stick the crime to two other suspects, Perry does...
Published on April 25 2004 by Crazy Jim


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLUER THAN BLUE, June 16 2004
By 
Michael Butts (Berkeley Springs, WV USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
DARK BLUE is a powerfully understated movie, even though it wastes no agony in its portrayal of what happened after the Rodney King verdict---why do people of any color think that they have the right to protest an injustice by taking it out on people who had nothing to do with it in the first place. Scenes of looting, stealing, angry people jumping on other people's cars, breaking windows---this is the real horror of our so called justice system. Of course, this is the climax of a movie that exposes those "bad cops" for what they are. Powerful performances from Kurt Russell and Brendan Gleeson in particular drive the tale of a cop who finally wakes up and realizes just what a cowboy he has been. There are no easy answers in this one, but even though it's a bad guy vs. good guy world, there is no excuse for the behavior of those who use their legal offices as an excuse to kill anyone they want.
Powerfully done.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a powerful performance by Kurt Russell, June 4 2004
By 
Joe Sherry (Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
A Film by Ron Shelton
Dark Blue opens with what looks like it is an episode of COPS but turns out to be a police chase that ends up as the Rodney King beating by L.A. cops. The movie then turns to show that the cops involved in the incident are now on trial and there are whispers that if the cops get off (as most expect that the will), the city will erupt. It is with this tension that we are introduced to Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell). Perry is an L.A. detective (plainclothes) and is somewhat of a controversial figure. He does his job, gets the criminals, but his methods are suspect. He follows orders, but uses somewhat excessive force in getting the bad guy. Perry views his job as the good guys (cops) versus the bad guys and that he is justified in using any means necessary in getting the bad guys.
Perry has a new partner, a young cop named Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman). Near the beginning of the movie we see Bobby in an internal review on his use of force in a case. Bobby shot a perp and with Perry's testimony he is cleared of all internal charges. The movie is less a pure story driven film than it is a revealing of who Perry is and the situation of the L.A.P.D. during the Rodney King era. There is corruption starting at the top and there are idealistic cops (usually young) and there are some cops like Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames) who are still upstanding men and trying to do the right thing even when the other captains are not.
This is a harsh look at the L.A.P.D. at a very heated time with the riots just around the corner (indeed, the Rodney King riots begin during the movie). It is a whole lot better than I could have expected and this has to be one of Kurt Russell's best roles. This is one of the better police movies that you will see and is an under-looked gem of 2002.
-Joe Sherry
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3.0 out of 5 stars Dark Blue REVIEW!, April 25 2004
By 
Crazy Jim (Massachusetts) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
Set to the backdrop of the forthcoming L.A. riots in 1992, Kurt Russell is crooked LAPD detective Eldon Perry who is attempting to solve a liquor store robery homicide that has actually been executed by two drug addict informants who are in the back pocket of his higher-up (Brendan Gleeson). When the order is sent in to stick the crime to two other suspects, Perry does just that. Problem is that Perry and his young partner, Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman) are already being investigated by the tireless Deputy Chief Holland. Ron Shelton who is known for his sports-related comedies like "White Men Can't Jump" and "Bull Durham" gives a nice effort in his first try at a police drama but the dreary photography and overly talky premise keeps this one from being a real crowd-pleaser. The script from "Training Day" screenwriter David Ayer is clever but the film seems to lack any energy at all until its explosive final act. Kurt Russell gives a solid performance but the rest of the cast with the possible exception of rap artist Kurupt all seem tired and unispired. "Dark Blue" is by no means a bad film but it moves so slowly at times that only a certain crowd will be able to sit through it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars RUN!!! Please, please, please stay away! Worst movie ever!, April 16 2004
By 
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
Why is there no "0 Stars" selection? If there were, this movie would certainly be worthy of it.
Ok, where do I start? It's 1992, during the heat of the Rodney King cops trial and Kurt Russell's character is acting like it's 1950 -- he's literally roughing up anything that moves. Oh, and what does he instruct his partner to do when they have an unarmed suspect corned in an alley? He says "SHOOT HIM! SHOOT HIM! SHOOT HIM!" while, get this, there is a police helicopter overhead and they can see a 5-year-old girl watching from her window. And the partner shoots the suspect dead!! WHAT IS HAPPENING!?!?
This movie was such garbage. I can't express this enough. And when it was over, my father (a 30-year police vet) turned to me and said "What the @&%$* was that?" Turns out he and I both wanted to stop watching it after 5 minutes, but we didn't want to ruin the other person's experience. Had I known he wanted to stop watching, we would've stopped it after 5 minutes.
Take my word for it -- it doesn't get much worse than this. A close 2nd is COLD CREEK MANOR with Sharon Stone and Dennis Quaid.
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4.0 out of 5 stars (In Fact 3.5 Stars) on LA Street; Kurt Russell's Career Best, Feb. 6 2004
By 
Tsuyoshi (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
Some say "Dark Blue" resembles "The Training Day." That's no wonder, because both films' scripts are from the same person, David Ayer, whose has first-hand knowledge about being street-smart. The difference is, "Dark Blue" has no Denzel Washington. But don't be disappointed, for Kurt Russell, after lamenable turns in "Vanilla Sky" and "3000 Miles to Graceland," gives his career-best performance as Eldon Perry, an LA cop who is so determined to erase the bad that he has become the part of it.
The story (originally based on the one by acclaimed writer James Ellroy, the guy behind "L.A. Confidential") has nothing original except one thing (I'm coming back to that). Eldon got a partner, rookie cop (surprisingly good Scott Speedman), and with him he investigates a brutal case of murder at a liquor shop run by a Korean American. But what he finds out leads not to the criminals (about them you see in the opening), but to the corruption of the system of justice.
In the meanwhile, a determined assistant police chief (Ving Rhames) is watching for the chance to 'get' Eldon and his boss LAPD chief Brendan Gleeson, both of whom he heartily despises. And there is even a story about love between the two sects....
Except for the factor about the 1992 trial about the police and Mr. Rodney King, and its shocking consequences in South Central, LA, the film has nothing new to add the genre. The combination of veteran and rookie can be seen back in these 'Dirty Harry' films, and what Clint Eastwood has done, you see done in "Dark Blue." Though the film manages to show the intense moments (like the re-created riot scenes), what you will see, I am afraid, has already been seen.
And the female parts are all less than satisfactory; Lolita Davidovich (director Ron Shelton's wife) is usually good when given a right role, but this time her role is just to suffer and weep as a cop's wife (very typical). The same goes to Michael Michele, who is also the victim of the underwritten role.
Having said that, "Dark Blue" has Kurt Russell's powerful performance, which is probably the best in his career so far. Because of his convincing portrait of the cop who treads on the very thin line between the good and evil, and its very credible locale that conveys the feeling of the 'street,' "Dark Blue" remains watchable throughout inspite of its occasionally dull moments.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The pits, Nov. 23 2003
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
As a resident of the Greater Los Angeles area, I'll be the first to say that LA isn't the most salubrious place to live. But DARK BLUE paints such an unflattering portrait of the city and it's police force that even I was mildly disgusted.
Kurt Russell is LAPD Sgt. Eldon Perry serving with a special investigations unit. Both his grandfather and father were also LA cops. The family tradition is that you take a sleazeball off the streets by subduing him, shooting him in cold blood, planting a bogus weapon, then claim self defense in the subsequent Internal Affairs hearing. Perry's new partner, rookie Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman), is learning the ropes. The Perry philosophy is shared by his boss, Jack Van Meter (Brendan Gleeson), who has crooked deals going on the side that even Eldon doesn't know about. Out to nail them all is Deputy Chief Holland (Ving Rhames), whose skeleton in the closet is that he once slept with his aide, Sgt. Beth Williamson (Michael Michelle), who herself is now bedding Keough.
This film has no engaging characters. Russell's Perry makes Denzel Washington's Alonzo Harris (TRAINING DAY) seem positively charming in comparison. Holland is the nominal good guy, but he demonstrates all the vitality and leadership qualities of a brick. Keough is so muddled that, by the time he sorts himself out, it's hard to care. Williamson is a knockout in her dark blue dress uniform, but otherwise has all the warmth of a police .38 stored in an icebox.
DARK BLUE adds insult to injury by positioning the storyline during that week in April 1992 when Rodney King's police beaters were acquitted and parts of Los Angeles were looted and torched by angry mobs. At the very end, as I gazed on a downtown panorama of flames and smoke, I wished that all Midwesterners, Southerners, Northerners, and Easterners wishing to move to overcrowded SoCal could see this film. Perhaps they'd decide to relocate to the Balkans instead.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A White Man�s �Training Day�, Oct. 7 2003
By 
MartyHansen (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
Dark Blue is the white man's version of 'Training Day.'
The cops in both are corrupt.
Both try to help their rookies learn. Denzel tries to kill his charge, and Kurt's gets killed by someone else.
Both use the tactics of the street to teach. One character (Denzel's) is smart and the leader of a rogue unit. The other (Kurt Russell's) is but a loyal lieutenant - which means the corruption goes all the way to the top.
Both portray the streets of LA as a battleground, too unsafe for any sane person to tread. But one ('Dark Blue') blatantly reinforces this by using the Rodney King trial - and the resulting riot - as the City of Angels' normal state.
Whereas 'Training Day' is smart and intriguing, 'Dark Blue' is one huge I'm-not-really-a-racist cliché.
Kurt Russell does a journeyman's job of bringing a human side to corruption. But the conspiracy that goes back years quickly unravels when a snitch - and Russell - spill the beans, which is why conspiracies such as this are rarely long lasting, and why this movie is so unbelievable.
The ghetto is a zoo where the animals should be kept in cages. If you believe that garbage, then this is a movie for you!
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2.0 out of 5 stars 2.4stars rounded down., Aug. 23 2003
By 
JediMack (VALRICO, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
I am reviewing the Kurt Russell movie Dark Blue released in 2003. The is the story of a third generation LAPD cop named Eldon, who is a corrupt cop. The movie is set during the time of the Rodney King jury verdict. My DVD was very difficult to watch as it kept losing the picture, breaking up and freezing.
The movie sets up the juxtaposition of the cops view of the King situation and the view of a couple of thugs who express their hope that the cops get convicted. They then walk in to a store and murder 4 people for no reason. As the movie goes along one starts making assumption about where it is going, but surprisingly it takes turns and folds back into its self. In the end it comes together as it must with the rule of law prevailing, for Eldon, as LA burns after the King acquittals.
This movie is curse laden, has brief nudity and simulated sex.
We ask our cops to be boy scouts while bring in the bad guys. In the old west it was common for US Marshals to have been wanted men and gunslingers. No one else was going to preserve order and protect justice. In a concluding speech as Eldon turns on the Boss of the bad cops he says something like...
My grand-dad was a gunslinger wearing the badge of an LA cop that chased after the bad guys. So was my daddy. I am a gunslinger like my family before me. People want results, but forbid us the tools we need to get the job done. I was a great gunslinger. I would shot the bad guys and cover it up. I was good at it. My son hates cops so the family business ends with me. Come and cuff me now.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another "bad" cop, Hollywood style, Aug. 13 2003
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
I thought this was a good outing for Kurt Russell, who I have always felt was an underrated actor. He is very solid in the film, turning in an edgy yet at times nuanced performance.
The problems in the film lay elsewhere.
The film is about a supposedly crooked, violent racist cop that sees the light and, in some measure, makes amends. This is problem number one. His conversion from hard-bitten head breaker to reformer is much too sudden. Russell does an admirable job in trying to make this transition, but I got the feeling the film went from being realistic to a liberal "gee, wouldn't it be cool if this happened to this bad cop" kind of scenario. People just don't change that suddenly, particularly not career police officers that have dealt with the worst society has to offer day in and day out. Someday, somehow, I would like to see a Hollywood picture where a tough, head-breaking cop simply stays that way throughout the course of the picture and does not "seek redemption" or come to a violent, "deserved" end.
Second problem was that, as is always the case in Hollywood these days, all the major black characters are noble, all the white characters, except for the young, whiny partner Kurt Russel's character is saddled with, are evil and racist (of course). Worst performance: Ving Rhames, who I have liked in other roles. Here, he is a flat, stiff cutout. Every line is moral and "true", and Rhames uses an affected, self righteous tone of voice throughout (a propensity the actor often needs to be directed away from). There is even a long scene where he relates a little sermon in church, just to make it clear what a good, godly man he is. There is something self-pitying about the character, and I found myself rooting for him to be crushed in the film, which is surely not what the filmmakers indented. Also, Michael Michele is terrible as Beth Williamson. Another beautiful woman that wants to be a serious actress. Yet another actress that imagines if she makes her eyes half-lidded and speaks in a flat voice, it makes her seem tough.
A bright spot in the film was the performance by Brendan Gleeson, who plays Jack Van Meter. Now here is an actor that knows half-closing your eyes just makes you look sleepy and stupid. His eyes are wide open throughout. He is also terrifying. Gleeson's acting is almost worth the price of admission.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Lightning Doesn't Strike Twice, July 28 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Dark Blue (Special Edition) (DVD)
First of all, I can't believe this story was written by James Ellroy who wrote L.A. Confidential, and was directed by Ron Shelton who wrote and directed one of my all-time favorite movies, Bull Durham, and stars one of my favorite actors, Kurt Russell. Of course, I just saw Shelton's Hollywood Homicide in the theater, and it was a zero star production as well.
Both of Shelton's last two movies feature cardboard cut-out characters (Hollywood Homicide: old cynical cop and cute young cop are partners, and it was supposed to be funny that one wanted to be an actor and the other was selling real estate, a la L.A.Story), and the entire plot seems to have been concocted by committee: let's go around the table and let everyone contribute their favorite cop movie cliche. Assuming that police officers are the enemy has been very fashionable, especially in the liberal media and Hollywood, but in post-9/11 America where we have rediscovered that police officers are dedicated heroes this kind of corrupt cops drama seems forced and dated. I had to roll my eyes when Kurt's wife left him for a defense lawyer. The other players in the criminal justice system, criminals and defense attorneys, are OK, everyone, that is, except the police officers. Even the assistant DA's and the judges are uncaring and self-involved. (The judge signs a search warrant without bothering to read it while sitting in a bar holding a martini in his hand.) The white characters are all racist, and the black characters are all mistreated. The young white cop is redeemed by having a sexual relationship with a black female cop who turns out to be his superior in the department, so, while racism is a major complaint, sexual harrassment apparently isn't. Was it supposed to be ironic that the two shooters in the armed robbery case were complaining about the lack of justice in the Rodney King trial right before they went into a Korean store and shot four people to death?
When Kurt's partner agrees to set him up, and tries to beat him to a crime scene to put the Korean grocery shooters in protective custody (!) before Kurt gets to them, the shooters shoot the young cop and the black female cop. Instead of commenting on the irony of that situation, she complains that they didn't shoot Kurt instead. What any of this had to do with the Rodney King trial remains a mystery, unless this was supposed to suggest a reason for the L.A. riots. The Korean crime victim turns out to be a criminal as well, so what this movie had to say about multiculturalism isn't encouraging either. If we are going to be able to divine someone's ethics from the color of their skin, I suggest an idea for the next movie: why an all-white jury acquitted the white King cops in retaliation for (?) a largely black jury acquitting a black double murderer (O.J.). What would Martin Luther King have to say about this turn of events? For all the lip service liberals give to the idea of a color-blind society, we have come to this: in certain movies you can predict what the character will do based on their skin color and economic status. YAWN. When Kurt is arrested at the end of the movie, it is by a young Latino cop. I rest my case.
Bottom line, nothing in this movie rings true or makes you care about the characters. During the extras on the DVD, Ron Shelton kept saying that he needed a technical advisor because this movie is not about his area of expertise, sports. I suggest he leaves criminal justice to someone who knows something about it and has less of a liberal axe to grind. Skip it. Lightning really doesn't strike twice.
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Dark Blue (Special Edition)
Dark Blue (Special Edition) by Ron Shelton (DVD - 2003)
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