Kurt Russell’s Forgotten Corrupt Cop Thriller Is Streaming Right Now

Kurt Russell's underrated neo-noir Dark Blue is now streaming on HBO Max.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

Kurt Russell

Dark Blue, starring Kurt Russell, is currently streaming on HBO Max. Released in 2002, the movie is billed as a neo-noir crime thriller directed by Ron Shelton. Written by David Ayer, the premise is based on a story by crime novelist James Ellroy. The film takes place during the days leading up to the 1992 Rodney King trial verdict.

The story revolves around Sergeant Eldon Perry (Kurt Russell) and his partner Bobby Keough (Scott Speedman), who are investigating a robbery at a liquor store that resulted in the murder of four people. As the case progresses, the pair becomes embroiled in a web of corruption, deceit, and violence. Meanwhile, Assistant Chief of Police Arthur Holland (Ving Rhames) is tasked with uncovering alleged police corruption.

Throughout the movie, Perry struggles with his conscience as he is torn between doing what is right and what is necessary to get the job done. The film explores themes like racism, police using excessive force as a means of intimidation, blackmail, and redemption. The movie earned a modest $12 million at the global box office and was met with mixed reviews from critics.

Dark Blue currently holds a 59% critics score on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The site’s general consensus describes the film as nothing audiences haven’t seen before. But Kurt Russell’s performance was praised. The movie also featured Michael Michele as Sergeant Beth Williamson and Brendan Gleeson as Commander Jack Van Meter.

Kurt Russell

The movie’s lukewarm reception could be due to its focus on police brutality, which has polarized the United States for decades. One of the most visible uses of force by police in the country’s history was the beating of Rodney King in 1991, which put the issue of police brutality on the national agenda. The incident decreased confidence in the police, varying modestly by ethnicity and not at all by partisanship.

On April 29, 1992, after seven days of deliberations, all four officers involved in the beating were acquitted of assault. Three were acquitted of using excessive force. The jury could not agree on a verdict for the fourth police officer charged with using excessive force. The real-life case and subsequent riots served as a backdrop and inspiration for the Kurt Russell movie.

Other instances of police brutality that have sparked protests include the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2020, the killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky in 2020, and the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. These incidents led to widespread protests and calls for police reform nationwide.

Interestingly, movies and television shows which dare to tackle the issue are received poorly by viewers. Along with the Kurt Russell movie, the final season of Brooklyn 99, which touched on police corruption, was maligned by fans for being overly political. Others felt that the show didn’t go far enough in addressing these issues and missed an opportunity to take a stronger stance on them.

Meanwhile, Kurt Russell will next be seen in Godzilla and the Titans, which will form part of Warner Bros. and Legendary’s MonsterVerse multimedia franchise and shared fictional universe. The series is created by Chris Black and Matt Fraction and is set for release on Apple TV+. The story is set after a massive battle between Godzilla and the Titans, which levels San Francisco.

The epic fight also reveals that monsters are real, which sends one family on a journey to uncover its mysterious past. They eventually discover a secret legacy that ties them to an underground organization called Monarch. The cast includes Anna Sawai as Cate and Kiersey Clemons as May. Ren Watabe appears as Kentaro, Joe Tippett as Tim, and Elisa Lasowski as Duvall.

Josh Collins, Mari Yamamoto, Anders Holm, Wyatt Russell, and Kurt Russell have been cast in undisclosed roles. The development of Godzilla and the Titans came after the success of Godzilla vs. Kong. Legendary Entertainment proposed a live-action series and struck a deal with Apple to green-light the series in 2022. In May, it was announced that Matt Shakman would direct the first two episodes while also serving as executive producer.