If this was 1993, then a movie featuring Val Kilmer, Sharon Stone and Michael Biehn would have been a major contender at the box-office. Unfortunately in 2009, it ends up going to directly to DVD. However, even though “Streets of Blood” suffers from slight flaws, it is not a movie that should go ignored, and manages to get some very good performances from the majority of the cast.
Focusing largely police corruption, you’ve seen the premise of this film a million times before with pictures such as “Training Day” and “Street Kings.” These type of picture were perfected by Sidney Lumet (“Serpico” “Prince of the City”) but since that time, they have become the film equivalent of a drug-store novel. They hold no real strength on their own and rest largely on whether or not the cast is capable.
That is largely why “Streets of Blood” works. The leading actors do a great job of moving the flow and pace of this tale along. Set in New Orleans, shortly after Hurricane Katrina, Andy Devereaux (Kilmer) finds the remains of his partner in a flooded house and shortly meet up with his new partner Stan Green (50 Cent). They have different styles of handling the corruption levels in the department. Green has no problem helping himself to the money to provide for his family, whereas Devereaux is only corrupt by the way he has no problem murdering a drug dealer or cop killer. Devereaux will not touch money that is not his and for the most part is an honest cop in this film that shades the line in morality.
However, the shifting focus hinders the enjoyment of the picture as it tries to focus on to many people when the audience is only invested in Devereaux and Green. Kilmer and 50 Cent have a genuine on-screen chemistry that balance each other out well and that was all the movie should have been about. Those two actors and a sharply written ending make this picture worth seeing. In fact, it is far superior to the theatrically released “Street Kings,” but that isn’t saying much.
An interesting side note is that the on-screen chemistry between Kilmer and 50 Cent leaked into reality because the two bonded over there love for antique cars. 50 Cent even surprised Kilmer by giving him a 1965 Chevy Impala (Worth 100,000).
Kilmer is still a gifted actor and even though his career seemed to take a wrong turn into the world of direct-to-DVD movies, this is not where an actor of his stature should be. He brings a unique flair to each role that he plays and in “Streets of Blood,” that is ever so apparent with his Cajun accent.
Helping matters too is that 50 Cent is one of the few rappers that has what it takes to be a good leading man and shows a lot of promise in this picture. He is an actor to look for in future endeavors. The sexy Stone also enhances the picture making three promising leads giving strong steady performances.
Nonetheless, this direct-to-DVD and the supporting cast and extras are just awful and pull you out of the picture. But what is most shocking is that Biehn seems to have a case of acting amnesia in this movie which is very rare for him. In “Aliens” and “The Terminator” he showed what a good actor he is, but as a corrupt FBI agent here, all he seems to want is a paycheck.
A shaky camera makes this movie feel like the real deal and transport you into the brutal unflinching reality of this world. At a brisk 95 minutes the picture never wears itself out and is an enjoyable popcorn flick. Anchor Bay provides little extras on this DVD with the exception of a trailer and ad for the direct-to-DVD garbage called “Lies and Illusions” featuring Christian Slater and Cuba Gooding Jr.
With a sticker price of over $20 it is hard to recommend this as a purchase, but as a rental, or stumbling upon it in a bargain bin it is definitely worth your time. A re-teaming of Kilmer and 50 Cent in a better picture than “Streets of Blood” is all we can ask for in the meantime.