DARK BLUE is a police drama set amid the Rodney King trial and subsequent riots in Los Angeles during 1991. Told mostly in flashback, the movie plays somewhat unevenly and lacks credibility at important points, partly because of some politically correct material regarding stereotypes about white racist cops.
As the jury in Simi Valley, Calif. begins deliberations on the four white cops accused of beating a black man named Rodney King, veteran racist detective Eldon Perry, played by Kurt Russell, is assigned a high-profile quadruple homicide during a convenience store robbery. Eldon tutors his rookie partner, Bobby Keough, in the ways of police intimidation and corruption. Together, they pursue the cold-blooded killers.
Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Holland, played by Ving Rhames, threatens to end Perry’s brand of singlehanded justice on the Los Angeles streets. Perry’s boss, the leader of LAPD’s elite Special Investigations Squad, protects his boy from Holland’s righteous onslaught. Little does Perry know, however, that his boss is also protecting the two ruthless informants who pulled the robbery on his orders. When Perry starts pursuing the leads back to the two informants, everything comes to a head as Los Angeles erupts in flames.
Kurt Russell is not always convincing in his role as the mean and dirty Eldon Perry. He’s partly saddled by uneven writing and pedestrian direction which turns the racism of Perry and his fellow white cops into an unconvincing, politically correct stereotype of a good ol’ boys cabal. Thus, an early scene shows Eldon and the other elite white cops drinking behind closed doors while jovial racist attitudes flow trippingly from their tongues. The scenes with Perry and his wife also come off a bit amateurish, despite the experience of the filmmakers. The re-created scenes of the riots, however, are brilliantly done.
Ultimately, DARK BLUE’s moral elements are undercut by its political correctness and its excessive foul language. Those familiar with the Rodney King case know that it was not as cut and dried as this movie, and the news media, make it appear.
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(B, PCPC, C, LLL, VVV, S, NN, MM) Moral worldview with some politically correct elements, such as the only decent, Christian policeman being a black cop and all the white cops trapped in racist attitudes; 194 mostly strong obscenities and 13 mostly strong profanities; extreme violence includes brutal murders during robbery, nude male body stuffed into refrigerator, policeman deliberately murders innocent suspect, gunfights, videotapes of beatings, and scenes of riot; implied fornication and talk about two adulterous affairs; upper male nudity and brief upper female nudity in striptease bar; alcohol use; smoking; and, lying, police corruption, armed robbery, falsifying evidence, and one-sided portrayal of events leading up to real-life riots.
GENRE: Drama/Police Thriller