What DARK BLUE does provide though, once you get past that caricature, is one element that more than makes up for any weakness in the movie: Kurt Russell! A true man's man, Russell shines in his portrayal of a cop whose desire to rid the world of scumbags (a noble idea in itself) eventually gets the best of him and of whatever beliefs he has left in legal police procedures. He's particularly effective in scenes where he explains what's what to a stunned Speedman and for old school Kurt Russell fans...there's also a fair amount of straight up shots of him kicking asses, threatening witnesses and just being an all-around badass. Russell gets some decent support as well, especially from Speedman, who proves to be more than just a teenage heartthrob with a credible performance as a conflicted cop who’s slowly getting wiser. Ving Rhames also puts in his best Denzel Washington impression as a righteous guy who takes on the oppressive establishment.
The movie is actually a pretty slick-looking one from a purely stylistic point of view. Dark and brooding at times and funny at others, it’s a brutally violent portrait of life in some of LA’s worst neighborhoods (where the film was actually shot). It also maintains a gritty attitude up to the ending, when the last 10 minutes of the film turn into a speech worthy of Al Pacino in SCENT OF A WOMAN and sort of takes a bit of an easy way out. Not surprising though, considering Shelton took the easy way out of most controversial situations this film could have brought up. Overall, this movie is certainly fun to watch, but don’t look to it for any honest representation of social conditions. It’s basically a good way to watch Kurt Russell act tough as nails.
Internal Affairs – 3 featurettes:
Code Blue (18 mins.): This is the main “documentary” on the making of the movie, complete with the standard cast and crew interviews, background on the story and the shoot as well as the script and pitch of the idea. Very standard stuff in here that is becoming a staple on every DVD.
By the Book (7 mins.): This brief section contains interviews with the art director and costume designer regarding the processes followed to make the film as realistic as possible. Again, nothing really fascinating is revealed but it’s always neat to see the amount of research and money that goes into details you would only notice if they were missing.
Necessary Force (6 mins.): Another brief feature containing an interview with the film’s technical advisor, a former LA cop. Instead of concentrating on telling Shelton how cops enter a house in the middle of the night to capture a suspect, this guy should maybe have slipped in a word about how cops aren’t all nutjobs on the loose. As it is, no amount of technical “advising” could have rescued the cops in this film from the Marion Cobretti School of Policing.
Also Included on the DVD are a Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery and the theatrical Trailer.