Dark Blue

  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Violent police detective teaches his partner.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 2003
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

Age(i)

2
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

Very intense peril and violence.

Sex

Sexual references and situations, not graphic.

Language

Extremely strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters smoke and abuse liquor and drugs.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie includes extreme peril and brutal violence. Innocent people are casually murdered. Characters abuse liquor, smoke, and use drugs. There is extremely strong language, including racist epithets. There are sexual references and situations, including adultery and a sexual relationship between people who intentionally know nothing about one another. A theme of the movie is the parallel between the corruption of the police force and the corruption of the surrounding society, and that is reflected in behavior that is greedy, disloyal, bigoted, and cruel.

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What's the story?

DARK BLUE is the story of a rogue police detective teaching a young partner how to do things his way. Eldon Perry, Jr. (Kurt Russell) comes from a family of lawmen as far back as anyone can remember. He learned from his father what he is trying to pass on to his new partner, Bobby (Scott Speedman) -- anything he can do to rid the world of one more bad guy is all right. Bobby is the nephew of Eldon's mentor and boss, played by Brendan Gleeson (Gangs of New York).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Dark Blue is an ambitious movie. It takes a cop who is corrupt in an ends-justify-the-means sense and contrasts him with a cop who is corrupt in a what's-in-it-for-me sense and arranges for them to clash just as the jury in the first Rodney King case is deliberating on a verdict. But when this movie succeeds, it is not in its attempt at a broader statement about integrity and responsibility in a world that is racist and dishonorable. Its strength is in its fine performances and in its smaller moments. Its weakness is a climax that is both melodramatic and formulaic and its unfortunate resemblance to the flashier Training Day by the same screenwriter.

Dark Blue is not subtle. The cops who wear the uniform are the good guys and the bad guys are very, very bad. The quadruple homicide-robbery that puts the story into play is, even these days, shockingly casual in its brutality. And the last twenty minutes are embarassingly preposterous. But Russell, an underappreciated actor, gives a thoughtful, heartfelt performance that beautifully illuminates the movie's theme of decay and redemption.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how even people who abandon core values have their own value systems. Where do we see TK's limits? What makes him hit bottom and decide to change?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 21, 2003
DVD release date:June 24, 2003
Cast:Kurt Russell, Scott Speedman, Ving Rhames
Director:Ron Shelton
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Thriller
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence, language, and brief sexuality

This review of Dark Blue was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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