You know what angers movie fans? Sequels “in name only.” They’re popular too, mostly because people keep falling for it. Let’s clear the air: Street Kings 2 has nothing to do with the first movie. No characters return, the location is different, and the plot doesn’t follow anything we have seen previously.
So why, why do studios continue to do this? They obviously make money, and they obviously wouldn’t have been made if the interest wasn’t there in the first place. Take them out of the video market, spruce them up, and send them out theatrically. If you have a franchise, make it one, don’t waste it on meandering garbage like this.
Enough ranting about business decisions. Street Kings 2 is a police procedural, one where crooked cops run free, car bombs go off when the ignition switch is hit, and we end in the showdown between good cop/bad cop, because of course no one else can know what’s going on. They might be in on it too, except that’s obviously not the case.
Dan Sullivan (Shawn Hatosy) is the rookie cop though, so maybe he doesn’t understand who to trust, even if the audience picks up on the clues. He’s teamed with Marty (Ray Liotta), giving off a nice guy persona even though the viewer can pick up on the obvious clues before the script presents them full force. That’s really the key problem here, Marty obviously guilty of crimes from the get go. Street Kings 2 settles in to a routine where Dan is at his desk, looking on intently at some hilariously simple notes, then takes off to find clues. Rinse, repeat.
There are conflicts, people being to threaten Dan, and things take a drastic turn for the worse as Marty makes a move shocking purely because of how brain-dead stupid it was in the first place. The movie is peppered with a few action scenes, an opening shoot-out memorable for its location only. Street Kings 2 uses the Detroit locale for all its worth, mostly because it doesn’t have much else. It’s a dreadfully dull, awkward police drama, and completely unnecessary capitalization on a successful 2008 outing. For shame Fox. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Movie]
Director Chris Fisher shoots this one digitally, surely a budgetary choice, but to its credit, it doesn’t come out too bad. Detroit benefits, the aerials of the city glistening with detail, depth, and sharpness. While it may expose the other side of D-Town too, the city is given a clean, crisp presentation. The same goes for close-ups, exquisitely detailed. Even the mid-range remains refined and clear, no instances of muddy smoothing or digital appearances.
It suffers from a few minor downfalls, stuff like aliasing that gets in the way. Small objects like keyboards, desk fans, monitors, window frames, etc. tend to shimmer as the camera pans. The break-up is probably only going to be distracting if you’re looking for it. Noise can be a bit of a bother too, rough around the edges at night or in darkened rooms.
Black levels tend to suffocate shadow detail too, although in general they’re superb. Even during the finale, taking place at night and underground, they hold firm. Depth and dimensionality are maintained clearly. Contrast can counter that by running a little harsh, an early scene in a barn the worst offender as the sun pours in though the slats. It’s typically under control.
Colors are deeply saturated, a refreshing change of pace from the usual seedy police dramas. Flesh tones are vivid without an overly orange tint, and primaries can be striking. There is a purity to the colors that is intensely pleasing, the greens of plants or trees pure and rich. This is a rare direct-to-video looker. [xrr rating=4/5 label=Video]
Street Kings 2 opens on a shoot-out, a shotgun blasting away and catching the sub with quite a bit of force. However, it does set a precedent for this one, that of lackluster surround use. Despite the setting which should produce a crisp echo, there’s nothing. It’s front loaded, and the same goes for another gun fight about a half hour later. Nothing pans through or around, the whole thing feeling static. There’s no atmosphere in the station or on the streets.
The low-end never quits, a droning, throbbing bass line at 48-minutes setting up some dramatic tension. There’s an explosion close to the finale that generates quite a shockwave in the film, the home representation enough to satisfy. Dialogue is well balanced through all of it, but you have to consider it’s not competing with much else in terms of sound design. [xrr rating=3/5 label=Audio]
A short selection of deleted scenes kick things off for this set of extras, following by a series of murder scene deconstructions that act as solid behind-the-scenes pieces. Creating a Convincing Cop Story fails on title alone, while cast and crew discuss how they made this one realistic (but didn’t). An Explosive Opening looks at how the shoot-out was filmed, followed by a piece on Detroit and the location shoot. A gimmicky quiz game matches up your personality to a weapon. [xrr rating=2/5 label=Extras]