Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Streets Of Blood

Irwin Winkler and 50 Cent are currently immersed in one of the strangest projects in cinema today: making terrible melodramas about the major traumas of the George W. Bush years. First, Winkler partnered with 50 for the hilariously overwrought, barely-released Iraq War movie Home Of The Brave. Now the terrible twosome has re-teamed for the almost inconceivably awful Katrina-sploitation thriller Streets Of Blood, which Irwin executive-produced for son/director Charles. A loathsome exercise in bad taste and shameless cliché-mongering, it’s set apart from the average Steven Seagal direct-to-DVD cheapie only by its setting: the muddy, bloody aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Can a histrionic exploration of 9/11 or the financial meltdown (possibly with 50 Cent as Bernie Madoff) be far behind?

50 Cent brings his marble-mouthed anti-charisma, wildly inexpressive face, and barely comprehensible line readings to the role of a Chicago cop who has the misfortune to be assigned to New Orleans just as it faces one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. He’s partnered with renegade maverick-cop cliché Val Kilmer, a lone wolf who plays by his own rules but gets results, dammit! 50 and Kilmer soon end up at the center of a turf war that pits an army of crudely stereotyped minority heavies, the FBI, and a deeply dirty police department against each other. Everyone in Streets is corrupt and compromised to some extent, but the result plays less like a bracing exploration of moral ambiguity than a sordid wallow in filth.

Sharon Stone wrestles unsuccessfully with the thick New Orleans accent of a road-show Tennessee Williams heroine, as a tough shrink who’s also, not coincidentally, the only woman in the movie who isn’t a bullet-riddled, dead, naked hooker. To call Streets a film about the aftermath of Katrina is to give it too much credit; it uses New Orleans’ rocky recovery solely as kitschy window-dressing for a sad stew of tired cop-movie conventions. Looking paunchy and leonine, with unflattering facial hair, Kilmer sinks to the level of the dire material, and ultimately, Streets recalls nothing so much as a lesser vehicle for Simpsons Arnold Schwarzenegger parody Rainer Wolfcastle, minus the satire and augmented with gratuitous T&A, nonstop profanity, and artless bloodshed.


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