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Dark Blue

Dark Blue

4.3 3
Director: Ron Shelton

Cast: Kurt Russell, Brendan Gleeson, Scott Speedman


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A cop's personal code of justice begins to change after a number of incidents lead his city to a tragic wave of violence in this police drama. Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) is a veteran cop with the LAPD's Special Investigations unit, a man who isn't above bending the law if it means putting people behind bars who deserve the treatment. As Los Angeles waits on the


A cop's personal code of justice begins to change after a number of incidents lead his city to a tragic wave of violence in this police drama. Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) is a veteran cop with the LAPD's Special Investigations unit, a man who isn't above bending the law if it means putting people behind bars who deserve the treatment. As Los Angeles waits on the verdict in the Rodney King police beating trial, Perry is presenting testimony to Assistant Chief of Police Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames), who is well aware of the corruption in the SIS unit and wants to stop it. Perry, however, twists some facts as he speaks in the defense of his new partner, Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman), who is being investigated for inappropriate use of deadly force. For lack of honest testimony, Keough is let off the hook, and soon he and Perry have a new case to investigate -- a robbery at a liquor store than turned into a quadruple homicide. Perry and Keough quickly track down two likely suspects, Orchard (Kurupt) and Sidwell (Dash Mihok), but Perry is surprised when the head of SIS, Van Meter (Brendan Gleeson), tells him to let Orchard and Sidwell go, and instead points the finger at two ex-cons who should be taken off the street, even though they're innocent of this crime. Perry follows Van Meter's orders, despite Keough's misgivings, but in the wake of the L.A. riots, Perry has a change of heart, and decides to start working with Holland against Van Meter's corrupt methods. In the midst of it all, Perry is trying to hold together his troubled marriage to Sally (Lolita Davidovich), while Keough finds himself romancing a fellow officer, Beth (Michael Michele). Dark Blue was adapted from an original screenplay by noted crime novelist James Ellroy; originally set against the backdrop of the 1965 Watts riots, the story was later updated to 1992.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Set in Los Angeles during April 1992, this powerful drama of corruption and redemption begins in the days leading up to the tumultuous rioting that followed the acquittal of four LAPD officers in the Rodney King police-brutality case. Dark Blue focuses on cynical Sgt. Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell), a casually crooked cop who tries to convince his rookie partner, Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman), that you have to play as rough as the bad guys if you’re to maintain order in the streets. But Perry’s peculiar approach to law enforcement, like that of the officers on trial, has recently come under the scrutiny of Deputy Chief Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames), who has sworn to bring down Eldon’s unscrupulous superior, Captain Jack Van Meter (Brendan Gleeson). This plot, with these actors, would probably make for an entertaining movie in any event, but the backdrop of a riot-torn Los Angeles in flames gives Dark Blue’s third act an apocalyptic quality that ups the emotional ante considerably. Russell’s Eldon Perry is a flawed protagonist who sees his whole world upended in a matter of days, suddenly finding his career hanging by a thread, his captain headed for indictment and exposure, and his long-suffering wife, Sally (Lolita Davidovich), on the verge of leaving him. The consistently underrated Russell, undertaking the difficult task presented him by screenwriter David Ayer and director Ron Shelton (Bull Durham), uses his considerable skill and force of personality to make Perry a not-altogether-unsympathetic character. Squarely upon his shoulders rests the believability of the film’s explosive but improbable climax, and he rises to the occasion magnificently. Sufficiently action-packed for the most thrill-hungry cop-film fanciers, Dark Blue is in the mold of such recent hits as Training Day and Narc; concerned with things far more important than shootouts and car chases, yet as viscerally exciting as any shoot-'em-up you'll see.
All Movie Guide - Adam Bregman
This hard-boiled cop flick is mean, nasty, and violent, inspired as it is by the writing of James Ellroy, who penned the story it's based on. It's very much true to Ellroy's gutter-style crime fiction, and that's the film's best quality. The screenplay by David Ayer is very much in keeping with Ellroy's style, perhaps even more so than L.A. Confidential. The film also has plenty of similarities to 2001's Training Day with Denzel Washington. Both films deal with thoroughly corrupt LAPD units. Dark Blue focuses on the Special Investigations Squad (SIS), which killed an incredible amount of bank robbers over a short period of time. The unit's amazing kill rate was never a huge story and was eventually overshadowed by the Rampart Scandal. Dark Blue, like Training Day, also has a seasoned corrupt cop Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) paired up with an anxious rookie Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman). While Russell does a fine job playing an alcoholic, out-of-control jerk and Brendan Gleeson is good as his completely crooked mentor, Speedman is weak in the good-cop role, as is his love interest, another cop (Michael Michele). Both are TV actors who make Dark Blue feel like a crummy TV cop show when they're together on screen. The story takes place as the Rodney King verdict and L.A. Riots unfold and does a good job of showing the sort of cop culture that led to those events. The riot scene near the end of Dark Blue is quite a spectacle, but the very end of the film is too staged. This doesn't take away, however, from what is surely one of the grittiest cop pictures Hollywood has ever made.
Washington Post
Harrowing and compulsively watchable morality play. Michael O'Sullivan
San Francisco Chronicle
While Dark Blue may not be easy to watch, it's exceptionally well made. Mick LaSalle
Gritty, gripping, a bit uneven, but Kurt Russell hits all the right notes. John Anderson

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kurt Russell Eldon Perry
Brendan Gleeson Jack Van Meter
Scott Speedman Bobby Keough
Michael Michele Beth Williamson
Ving Rhames Assistant Chief of Police Arthur Holland
Lolita Davidovich Sally Perry
Dash Mihok Gary Sidwell
Kurupt Darryl Orchard
Master P Maniac
Khandi Alexander Janelle Holland

Technical Credits
Ron Shelton Director
David Ayer Screenwriter
Terence Blanchard Score Composer
David Blocker Producer
Moritz Borman Executive Producer
Lance Brown Sound/Sound Designer
Caldecot "Cotty" Chubb Producer
Sean Daniel Producer
Guy East Executive Producer
Robert Eber Sound/Sound Designer


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Dark Blue 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the movie, but I could not help but flash back to the gauntlet scene from ''Escape from N.Y.'' and compare it to the similar scene from ''Dark Blue''.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kurt Russell deserved consideration for an Oscar with this performance. He's a life-long corrupt cop who eventually starts to see the error of his ways and attempts to set things straight. His speech at the end of the movie about his father's and his own corruption was very emotional.