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Streets of Blood(2009)
Val Kilmer and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson star in this film about policemen who realize that crime reigns both inside and outside the walls of their police station. The death of a cop’s partner during Hurricane Katrina begins to look suspicious, and he and his new partner begin to investigate what appears to be a murder.
For more about Streets of Blood and the Streets of Blood Blu-ray release, see Streets of Blood Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 30, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.0 out of 5.
Starring: Val Kilmer, Curtis Jackson, Sharon Stone, Michael Biehn
Director: Charles Winkler
» See full cast & crew
Streets of Blood Blu-ray Review
A dull, direct-to-video Cop Drama makes for a subpar Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, August 30, 2009
How do you feel about taking another human being's life?
Perhaps the better question would have been, "how do you feel about taking another human being's 95 minutes?" Streets of Blood, a 2009 direct-to-video dud, is one of the worst movies of the year (though it does beat out Miss March), the film cursed with the bad movie quartet: an incomprehensible script, terrible acting, headache-inducing direction, and snooze-worthy pacing. There's probably more wrong with the movie than even that, but it's not like a lame score or cheap-looking sets could make it any worse. It's the four, however, that drag Streets of Blood to the lowest depths of cinema's horrid wasteland that's populated by plenty of similar films that feature a collection of has-been and never-will-be actors cashing what's probably a rather miniscule check for a movie that sits on the new release shelf for a week, moves a few dozen copies, is reviewed and forgotten by a handful of online critics, and never spoken of again. Admittedly, though, it's a shame that Streets of Blood finds itself in this unhappy place. The elements are here for a vastly better picture, meaning it could have been an average Cop drama with a little TLC, but alas, it is what it is and it's not really worth spending too much time harping over what's wrong with it and what could have been.
The mostly indecipherable plot goes something like this: New Orleans has been devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The city is in a state of physical and moral decay. A criminal element has taken over the streets, and it's every man for himself. Officer Andy Devereaux's (Val Kilmer, Heat) partner is dead, and he wanders across fellow officer Stan Green (rapper 50 Cent, Home of the Brave), a recent transferee from Chicago. They work together to kill a man claiming to be a security guard but who trains his weapon on them, and six months later, they're partnered up and working to clean up the streets. A suspect spills a name, Ray Delacroix, but before Andy and Stan can get to him, he's murdered by two other New Orleans officers, Pepe (Jose Pablo Cantillo) and Barney (Brian Presley). The local PD sees it as a good shooting, but Federal Agent Brown (Michael Biehn, Navy Seals) thinks otherwise; Delacroix was actually one of their own, an undercover DEA agent. With the Feds hot on their case and facing a series of questions from the inquisitive (Internal Affairs?) Nina Ferraro (Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct), Andy, Stan, Pepe, and Barney hit the streets amidst the corruption and violence that plagues the department, hoping to clear their names and bring their brand of justice to the Big Easy. Or something like that.
Really, it's unclear as to the absolute nitty gritty details that flesh out the story. Once it gets going, it becomes a jumbled mess that never fleshes out the story or fully develops its characters. It's not just the script at fault here; Director Charles Winkler's (The Net 2.0) film takes on an overzealous shaky-cam style that's meant to add a gritty, unsavory, "street-level" feel to the proceedings, but it just gets in the way far more often than it actually helps set a tone and draw the audience into the story. On top of that, the horrid pacing and lazy acting leaves viewers with no interest in really paying attention to what's going on. Streets of Blood is intercut with scenes featuring Sharon Stone interviewing the four cops: Andy, Stan, Pepe, and Barney. Apparently, the hope was to add some clarity to the proceedings through expository back-and-forth dialogue as they recount the events of the film, but it doesn't work. Not only do the scenes not aid in understanding exactly what's going on, but they interrupt whatever little bit of flow the movie otherwise enjoys. Though a surprise ending does make sleepy-eyed viewers at least sit up and take notice, it just doesn't matter; the poor character development leaves audiences in a state of indifference, and past a cursory "huh!" reaction to the ending, it, and the movie on the whole, will soon be forgotten in favor of, oh, a meaningless Pirates-Brewers Sunday afternoon baseball game.
Of all the problems to be found in Streets of Blood, its most egregious fault comes from acting that's lazy, poor, or both. 50 Cent turns in a listless performance devoid of a hint of emotion, and considering the arc his character takes through the course of the film and playing central to the somewhat shocking conclusion, it's a paint-by-numbers effort that's often painful to watch as he blankly recites lines without purpose. He brings nothing to the table other than name recognition, but in his -- and everyone else's -- defense, the script gives him little to work with, itself a shallow shell of an effort with no real purpose other than to take advantage of the post-Katrina setting, which actually matters very little to the story. A pudgy Val Kilmer turns in a passable effort, though again there's a palpable lack of emotional depth despite the sour tone his life has taken since the Hurricane. Sharon Stone delivers what's probably the worst effort of the bunch; her accent switches between sounding like she's from Boston to sounding like she's French, and it doesn't help that she mutters most every line and seems to be content with simply going through the motions and adding another title to her resumé. Veteran Michael Biehn and the pair of corrupt cops -- played by Jose Pablo Cantillo and Brian Presley -- make for the best the film has to offer, but their efforts stand out only because of the lackluster performances of the film's trio of lead actors.
Streets of Blood Blu-ray, Video Quality
Streets of Blood features an unimpressive 1080p, 1.78:1-framed transfer. Shot on HD video, the movie often takes on the look of a low budget television show and the Blu-ray results reflect the mediocre quality of the source. First and foremost, blacks often tend to crush fine details and are often abuzz with noise. It does add to the gritty tone the film shoots for but otherwise it isn't all that visually appealing. Detail ranges from decent to poor; a few nighttime shots in a city park reveal grass that appears as muddled and undefined, while other shots -- particularly when the camera isn't zooming and jerking all over the place -- reveal a fair level of information. Close-up shots of human faces in particular reveal a good bit of information, but they do look a bit overly sharp and processed. Colors tend to look washed out, and flesh tones vary from ghastly to overly red. Streets of Blood offers a passable video presentation but it's not one that will garner any positive attention from Blu-ray fans.
Streets of Blood Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Streets of Blood washes onto Blu-ray with a PCM 5.1 uncompressed soundtrack. Easily the highlight of the entire disc but itself nothing to write home about, this mix does its job and features a few good moments but is otherwise rather bland and uninteresting. Dialogue occasionally sounds a bit muddled and hard to hear, but for the most part there are no problems worth noting. The Hip Hop music scattered about the movie plays with a fair presence, but it never lives up to the crispness and absolute clarity that similarly-themed music enjoys in better soundtracks. Most disappointing during these segments is the lack of a powerful low end. There's some decent atmosphere throughout; crickets buzz and frogs croak here and there throughout the soundstage and may be heard through all of the speakers, front and back. Still, such moments seem the exception to the rule, and most scenes will leave listeners feeling a bit cold and detached from the on-screen action. Shootouts make for the most impressive sonic segments in the film. One in chapter six and another in chapter 10 are loud and aggressive, each shot distinct, clear, and powerful, and seem to emanate from every corner of the listening area. Aside from that, however, Streets of Blood serves up a rather pedestrian track that's fine for a direct-to-video outing but certainly not the sort of listen that will blow Blu-ray fans away.
Streets of Blood Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of Streets of Blood features three extras. First among them is a commentary track with Director Charles Winkler. He discusses how the script had bounced around and the number of actors and directors attached to the project, and how the script evolved under his supervision. He speaks with nonstop verve as he recounts stories form the set, discusses shooting locations, filming the shoot-outs, the actors and the director's previous work with some of them, the creation of props (including Ray Delacroix's car), improvisations that made it into the film, how Streets of Blood in some ways captures the "future of filmmaking," and much more. 'Streets of Blood:' Behind the Scenes (480p, 9:01) is a short feature that offers up interview snippets with cast and crew, behind-the-scenes footage, and clips from the film. The film's theatrical trailer (480p, 2:03) rounds out this collection of bonus features.
Streets of Blood Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Streets of Blood is a derivative direct-to-video offering that gets everything wrong. It's not often that it's almost impossible to find anything positive to say about a movie, but other than complimenting the so-so performances of a few of the film's secondary characters or mentioning a couple of decent shootouts, there's just no way to put a positive spin on this one. Clunky, confused, poorly acted, and lackadaisically directed, Streets of Blood squanders its potential to be a middle-of-the road Cop drama and finds itself unceremoniously relegated to direct-to-video obscurity. The Blu-ray release is befitting the quality of the film, which is to say that it's nothing special. Featuring a passable but visually uninteresting 1080p transfer, a fair uncompressed soundtrack, and only a smattering of extras, Streets of Blood is a disc to skip.
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Streets of Blood Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Details Announced for Streets of Blood Blu-ray - July 8, 2009
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has announced the technical specs and special features for the upcoming Blu-ray release of 'Streets of Blood', which is scheduled to hit store shelves on September 29th. For the film starring Val Kilmer, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and ...
• Streets of Blood Coming to Blu-ray - July 3, 2009
In an early announcement to retailers, it has been revealed that Starz/Anchor Bay is set to release the action/drama movie 'Streets of Blood' on Blu-ray on September 22 (for some reason, two months after coming out on DVD). There is no information on audio or video ...
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