Parents' Guide to

Dark Blue

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Violent police detective teaches his partner.

Movie R 2003 116 minutes
Dark Blue Poster Image

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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.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: February 21, 2003
  • On DVD or streaming: June 24, 2003
  • Cast: Kurt Russell , Scott Speedman , Ving Rhames
  • Director: Ron Shelton
  • Inclusion Information: Black actors
  • Studio: MGM/UA
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Run time: 116 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: violence, language, and brief sexuality
  • Last updated: January 12, 2024

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