Fri, Feb 21, 2003

: Dark Blue

Back when the whole Rodney King thing happened I didn’t have a strong opinion: like most everyone else, all I had seen were the TV news clips of the cops beating King with batons. It seemed incredible that the jury would acquit the four cops. However, I later saw the full video on Court TV: in the full video you actually see the officers surrounding King, ordering him to comply, King lunging at them, the way initial attempts to subdue him failed, and the eventual beating footage shown on the TV news over and over again. I found it fascinating that the TV news never showed King acting violent, something the jury got to see. That still didn’t change my mind about the verdict, but it did make me think that it’s unfair for us to judge the jury since we didn’t see the actual evidence presented in the trial. All we got to see is the biased footage the TV news showed us.

Well, minutes into this film I knew where this was going, for the film opens with the Rodney King beating, and once again, only the cops’ actions are shown. Cut from that to a white cop making racist remarks and a black assistant police chief who’s the good guy and you’ve got an excellent idea of which side this movie’s going to take. Not that that’s wrong, just interesting, and a point to keep in mind. I don’t like being manipulated.

The story’s about corruption and cover ups in the LAPD at the time of the King trial. The main characters are an older bad-ass police sergeant and his young new partner whom he begins to train in the ways of “the end justifies the means” police work. As the young cop’s conscience waivers, the King verdict comes down and L.A. explodes into violence. The climactic riot scenes are really well done and frightening: people looting, flipping cars over, burning and breaking, and dragging white people from vehicles and beating them. The ending is a bit different and I won’t give it away here, but I liked it. That surprised me, for if you’d told me what happened in advance I would have said I wouldn’t like it, but it ultimately did make sense. Overall, a good cop film. I doubt you’ll learn anything new about race relations, and the film doesn’t unveil anything new about the King situation, but it is interesting and the dynamic between Kurt Russell and Scott Speedman is excellent.

Topic: [/movie]