Vic Mackey

Street Kings

Year: 2008
Directed By: David Ayers
Written By: James Ellroy, Kurt Wimmer, and Jamie Moss

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie came out at just the right time to get my attention. My favorite TV show of all time, The Shield, aired its final season in the fall of 2008. When this movie came out in the spring of 08 I was eagerly waiting to see how it all finished up. This movie was very similar and gave me a dirty cop fix when I was itching for some corrupt action.

Keanu Reeves played the Vic Mackey part in this movie and the movie starts right off trying to establish him as this anti hero we see so often in television. The guy has issues. He gets out of bed fully clothed, pukes a little bit, and then cleans his gun before hitting the liquor store. Then it’s straight to the streets to do the job. He’s only a little boozed up but good to go with his street talk as he enters the dirty deals that go on late in the streets. He has no problem taking an ass whooping in order to set up the bad guys. When he goes to take care of business the action doesn’t disappoint as he Vic Mackey’s the bad guys and the crime scene. Maybe this guy has unorthodox methods, maybe he drinks too many of those tiny booze bottles, but when women are trapped in closets he’s the one whose going to save them.

I love these dirty cop stories but they are all too similar more often than not. Bad cop sets up the bad guys, kills them all, plants evidence, and saves the innocence. In the aftermath there are investigations and eventually some larger conspiracy going on. The irony is that bad cop isn’t bad enough to consider joining the conspiracy and he becomes determined to bring the whole thing down. I’m always pulling for the bad cop. What they do is wrong, but who among us wouldn’t do the same thing? It’s easy to say you would always do the right thing but at one point bad cop was probably a good guy too. He started out as a good guy and got hardened by the realities of the job. After so many years on the job he’s just out to cut through all the red tape and do what needs to be done.

Terry Crews plays the inevitable Serpico good cop who still cares, or is out for revenge. It hardly matters which when he’s snitching on our anti-hero. He seems to be doing pretty good for a cop given he’s driving a Cadillac SUV, but he doesn’t make it long. As Ice Cube once said “snitches get stitches,” or in this case about a thousand bullets to the chest. Nevertheless this murder doesn’t fly with bad cop Keanu, and there’s your larger conspiracy. I think it’s a bit strange that Keanu, as the best bad cop, wouldn’t have been involved in this larger conspiracy of bad cops.

Forest Whitaker is fantastic in this movie. I specifically like it because he plays a role that is the complete opposite of the role he played on The Shield. He was a real badass on The Shield, an Internal Affairs detective out to get Vic Mackey and he had us all scared for a while. It was season 5 and Vic was really going down, no way he could get out from under Forest Whitaker. As bad ass as he was though, he couldn’t catch Vic. He got to play the bad cop in this movie and that’s one of the things I really liked about it. I’ve never been a fan of Forest Whitaker but I loved him on The Shield and have been more of a fan since then.

The cast in this movie is really deep and that’s another thing I like about it. Not a fan of Hugh Laurie because I never watched House but he brought some cool charisma to the cast. Chris Evans is always great and I like him partnering up with bad cop Keanu as he investigates whose really bad. Jay Mohr is great in the background as the mustache cop whose is quietly more of a bad cop than bad cop Keanu. This guy is always around, he was named Ronnie on The Shield. Cedric the Entertainer makes a cool appearance and so does Common. I have always been a fan of Common and I think he makes for a cool gangster.

As far as bad cop movies go this one isn’t really exceptional but there are a lot of things I still like about it. It makes for a cool action movie with plenty of exciting scenes. Holy shit the heat really rises quickly when Chris Evans takes one in the throat. Great shoot out scene that ends with Keanu using a refrigerator as a shield and shooting Common in the face.

Uh oh, he’s been set up, classic. Common and his associate were undercover cops? His friends are suddenly arresting him and probably taking him to his execution. They of course explain everything before killing him but of course bad cop Keanu has a cuff key. Bad cop Keanu has transitioned from bad cop into badass rogue out for justice. Ready to die in a blaze of glory in order to do whats right because doing what’s right is all he has left. Even tied at the hands and ankles he can overcome certain death. All the badass rogue needs is a shovel and a real bad guy’s gun to fall right into his hands.

I’m really impressed with Forest Whitaker going toe to toe with Neo in a fight scene. Of course badass rogue’s fight to the top leads to his mentor and boss. Oh how typical these stories go but it’s a cool fight scene and this has been a cool action movie. Even when Forest Whitaker is caught the sad reality is he is too powerful to tear down. He’s the man behind the curtain pulling the strings of Oz. Badass rogue can’t let such a man get away, he’ll never be brought to justice because justice is corrupt. Gotta kill the bad guy and I like that about this movie too. Although the movie should end with his arrest I like that Hugh Laurie is able to save him in the end.

This is the exact movie that gets lost in the library of time. Nothing really stands out about it and not many people watched it. It’s a cool movie though and I stand by it. It may be typical but sometimes you just need to sit back and watch a little action. This is a good movie for that. I think it is worth your time to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Stripes (1981)

Venus Van Dam Again?

As much as I love the talent of Walton Goggins I can’t help but be surprised to see him reprise his role of Venus Van Dam for a third time in the final season of Sons of Anarchy.

Not that there is anything wrong with the role, in fact I think it shows impressive depth from him as an actor. Still, seeing him do it again and taking it a step farther at that by doing a kissing scene really makes me wonder what Kurt Sutter has on Walton Goggins as leverage.

I thought it was a really funny joke the first time he appeared on the show as a cross dressing prostitute. Fans of Sutter’s last show, The Shield, will remember Walton Goggins in the role of Shane Vendrell whose alias was Cleetus Van Dam. Many actors who had roles on The Shield have appeared in Sons of Anarchy but none in quite the same fashion as Goggins. When I saw it the first time I laughed till I was blue in the face and loved it. The second time I felt like it was a bit of overkill and done just for the sake of being progressive and politically correct.

Last night seemed a bit much but I still enjoyed it. This is the last season of Sons and I think Sutter just couldn’t pass up another opportunity to make Goggins dress up in drag again. Regardless the reason I think Goggins continues to shine in the unlikely role and he deserves some credit for it.

This final season of Sons has been incredible thus far and I cannot wait to see how it all ends. Things have been happening really fast and there are still nine episodes left! It looks like things will come to a head with the Chinese next week so it will be interesting to see where it goes from there.

I sincerely hold out hope that we will see one more Shield cameo before it is all said and done. Obviously we won’t see Julien Lowe in a role as Michael Jace disgraced himself and is currently sitting in jail somewhere. We also haven’t seen Catherine Dent or Cathy Cahlin Ryan either but I am not interested in seeing them and I doubt we will. Of course the one I am talking about is the big dog Michael Chiklis himself. Sutter has said that he hasn’t brought him in because he doesn’t want to take anything away from the character of Vic Mackey, or something like that, but I still hold out hope. This show featuring such a heavy crossover of actors wouldn’t be right without Chiklis making an appearance at least so I continue to hope we see him in some capacity before it’s all over.

Chiklis can be seen in the upcoming season of American Horror Story in a key role but that shouldn’t conflict as Goggins also has a key role on another FX show JustifiedIn a perfectly written world it would be really cool to not only see Chiklis but to actually see Vic Mackey himself. The way The Shield ended was never good enough for me because Vic Mackey is not a man who can simply be contained to a desk job. One way or another he would manipulate his situation to get back out on the street and I think it would be really cool for him to come into conflict with the Sons in his new position as some sort of ICE agent. The season seems like it will come to a head with a Sons vs. Mayans all out conflict so my wishful thinking would have Vic Mackey getting involved with illegal aliens within the Mayan ranks. Who knows what will happen, but that would be awesome.

Series Finales

 

Having just seen another great television show come to a close I started thinking about all the shows I have seen end and how they compare to one another.  Amber and I are big time TV watchers and have seen many shows run their course over the years.  Typically I tend to feel disappointed by the way a show ends because expectations tend to be high for all of them.  I didn’t realize quite how many shows we have watched in their entirety but here are all the ones that have come to mind this morning, starting of course with the most recent one.

BREAKING BAD

By comparison I actually think this one was head and shoulders above the rest.  They closed out nearly every story line, our main character’s life came to an end in a moment of triumph, and everybody seems to be very satisfied.  I am mostly surprised how trendy Breaking Bad has suddenly become and that somehow is sullying a lot of it for me.  Amber and I have been with this show for years and years now.  It’s just annoying to be a long time fan and listen to all these band wagon jumpers put their opinion out there.  Those of us who were always watching know how rough it was, how agonizing the wait for this season was, and I think that plays a part in how I feel about it.  Don’t get me wrong I think it was great, but there is a needling part of me that wishes things had gone in a different direction all together.  The scene in the first episode of this year when Walt confronts Hank was one of the greatest I have ever seen in the show.  I wanted more of that honestly.  I have always felt that in the end it should come down to Walt vs. Hank and once Hank was killed my interested waned a bit.  I also didn’t like Jack and his crew being the bad guys that Walt had to dispatch before going down.  I just don’t think these guys fit the bill as the kind of bad guys we have seen from this series.  This show has really sported some badass villains (Walt included) and I just don’t think Jack and his guys really compared. These guys are just low down Nazi prison criminals on the outside. Yeah they took all of Walt’s money and killed Hank but I still don’t think they compare to Gus, the Twins, Tuco, Don Eladio, or even Mike. That’s me just being too judgmental about it all but these guys getting the best of Walt at any turn just got under my skin. Walt was too smart for these guys to ever get the best of him and Hank was too damn good a cop to be killed at their hands.  I would have liked to see more about how deep the Gus’s old empire went over seas.  It’s neither here nor there now and I can’t argue with something that worked.  My expectations were just too high and I had far too long to imagine different ways it might have gone.  Many of us did, and I don’t give a crap about what anybody that just jumped on right before the end thinks.

THE SOPRANOS

I loved this show, it’s one of my favorites of all time but I was really disappointed with the finale. I liked the final season I think they really did some great things but that final scene killed it for me.  I think after all the  time we as viewers invested in the show we deserved to see what happened to Tony.  I think there is plenty to suggest that Tony died but I don’t think a suggestion is good enough.  We needed to see it.  I personally feel that a show that centers on one specific character can’t truly end until that character dies.  People all around the main character always die but as long as the main character lives the story doesn’t really stop.  This is a problem that I see with other finales more than this one though.  I just think it shouldn’t have been open to interpretation and that’s my biggest hang up with this one. This was one of the greatest shows ever but they dropped the ball in the final seconds.

THE SHIELD

This is my favorite show of all time, hands down.  It got better every single year only waning a bit in the final season as it dragged out to the end.  What I mentioned during about The Sopranos is really the biggest problem with this show however because Vic Mackey doesn’t die.  The show ends with Vic being relegated to a desk job, completely alone having destroyed all his relationships, and with nothing but a lonely and miserable future ahead of him.  I hated this because this is no end.  Vic was a schemer and could never be kept at a desk job.  He deserved what happened to him but the story doesn’t end when he doesn’t die.  How long does he stay put at that desk? It’s only a matter of time before he manipulates the situation to getting himself back on the street because the guy was too damn good to park at a desk.  Too many questions and too many possibilities loomed after the final credits rolled and that bothered me. Still, despite being disappointed by the ending this was the best of the best as far as I am concerned and if you haven’t seen The Shield then you are missing out.

24

This show had its ups and downs but it is sentimental to me because this was the first TV drama I really got into.  The first 5 seasons were exceptional and probably some of the best stuff Fox has ever put on television.  FOX can’t make good TV worth a damn and have been trying to recapture what they had with this show for years now with little success.  So much so that the show is coming back and I look forward to what it can do.  It got so redundant over time but in the final two seasons I felt it kept things interesting enough to make it all worth wild.  The problem with this finale was the same as it is with the others though.  Jack Bauer lived again, that’s insanity.  The show doesn’t end when Jack is still around to save the day and I suppose it’s a good thing since they are going back to it now.  The show was supposed to lead into an eventual movie but that was never going to happen and I tried to tell everyone that.  24 just wasn’t set up to be a movie and there is no way they could have done it to make it work.  The movie they did make ended up going straight to TV and it really wasn’t any good.  I look forward to the show coming back and I hope they do what they should have done in the final season which is bring back Chase Edmunds.  He was an awesome character that never died but was only used in season 3 as Jack’s partner.  I have always felt there were so many opportunities to bring this guy back but don’t understand why they never did.  Maybe there was a problem with James Dale Badge who played the part, if anybody knows please leave a comment because I’d love to finally find out.

NIP/TUCK

This was a good show that went on for far too long.  The first few seasons were great but I have never seen a show go as haywire as this one.  By the time it ended it felt more like “finally” than anything else.  The ending did nothing to bring the show back to what it once was either.  In my opinion the season 6 premier when we see what happened to Shaun after he was stabbed in the back should have been the end.  That was a great episode for a show that was no longer good and their mistake was trying to continue the story for another year.

RESCUE ME

I’m sad to say I never made it to the end.  When the show just wouldn’t let go of the family’s drinking problem I couldn’t take it anymore.  This was a great show and Denis Leary made it all worth wild but I couldn’t take much more of it after six seasons and gave up on it in the beginning of season 7. The alcoholism story line had been done to death and when it started off there again I was done. I don’t know what happened in the finale but I did love the show for most of its duration so if you have any thoughts you’d like to share please leave us a comment.

THE OFFICE

I thought this was a good finale and think the show really did some great things as it winded down to a close.  In fact I wrote a review of this finale.  You can read my thoughts on that finale here.

SEINFELD

This was probably the first show I ever watched all the way through until the end.  TV was different when this show was ending but I still feel it was worthy of mention.  Seinfeld changed TV forever and its impact on the future of TV can’t be overlooked.  It changed the platform on which shows would stand.  Shows used to always have a centralized theme but for the first time this show didn’t.  It was just a few people being funny and we watched their lives unfold as they got into these goofy and weird scenarios.  This show will always be funny and I will love it forever but it didn’t end well.  The ending for this show was just flat out stupid and even after all these years I still find myself disappointed.  The way they ended it with Seinfeld and co serving a one year sentence for breaking a ridiculous law led me to believe it was all a hoax.  They weren’t really going to close the books on the best show on television and I thought they were being clever.  I thought they would simply come back after a year off and keep us laughing for another few years but they didn’t.  There is plenty to be said about going out on top but I wish they had done something different.

KING OF THE HILL

This was another disappointing finale to my favorite comedy of all time.  This show lost something in its finale years that it was never able to get back even up until the end.  The show changed, and what was put into the final episode was what the show had become and not what it was.  The show was at its best when everything was congruent and tied together over time.  Somewhere along the line the story just fell flat and became an episode to episode kind of thing.  The episodes suddenly just became thirty minutes of trying to be funny instead of working toward larger storylines that were ultimately funnier.  Hank Hill is my hero and I will always love this show more than any other comedy series but I don’t waste my time watching the later episodes because they aren’t the same.  Specifically once Lucky became part of the show I lost interest.  He was a horrible character that was more stupid than funny.  King of the Hill used to be Seinfeld in Texas, without all the sex, but once Lucky showed up it turned more into a show about rednecks. Somebody screwed up because this showed had been better than that and it lost something when it went that way.  The only notable thing that happened in the series finale was that we found out what Boomhuaer did for a living.  It was cool to find out he was a cop but it wasn’t enough.  Where was the resolution between Dale, Joseph, and John Redcorn? The show spent so many years building up to that only to never deliver on it.  Really disappointing but we will always have many years of great TV from this show to look back on.

There are plenty of shows I haven’t mentioned that had big time series finales.  The number one that comes to mind being Lost and that’s because I gave up on that show early on.  I consider myself the smart one for this because I will argue till the day is done that Lost was a stupid show that plenty of people wasted their time on.  I think the confusion left in the wake of the show ending only proves my point but feel free to let me know how wrong I am.  In fact please share your thoughts on anything I have or haven’t listed. We love TV and talking about it so we are always interested in hearing what others have to say.