The story hook for STREET KNIGHT is the so-called gang truce, a grass-roots solution to youth crime that became trendy in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, as ghetto gangs across the nation held councils and called a halt to their endless turf battles and revenge killings. STREET
KNIGHT even carries a politically-correct closing credit, dedicating the film to Gang Truce and posting the location of a gang truce organization in Watts.
Otherwise, it's an undistinguished urban crime bloodbath, revolving around Jake Barrett (Jeff Speakman), former cop who quit the LAPD after failing to save a child in a hostage standoff. He's still got respect in the 'hood, though, and pretty Rebecca Sanchez (Jennifer Gatti) seeks his help in
finding her missing brother Carlos (Richard Coca). He vanished just as a South Central gang truce between the black Blades and the Latin Lords seems to be crumbling, and members of each gang are turning up with drive-by regularity. In fact, the true killers are evil white men, a vague cabal of
corrupt cops and ex-cons planning a jewel heist for which the gangs will be framed. The scheme requires them to murder enough Blades and Lords to set off a gang war, and nice-guy Carlos (who had to join a gang just so he wouldn't be bothered while dutifully attending school) is sole survivor of a
Latin Lord posse wiped out by the Anglo assassins.
As Jake hunts for the frightened Carlos, so does James Franklin (Christopher Neame), highly-decorated police officer and, of course, conspiracy mastermind who fears Carlos has seen too much. The film's mechanical plot line is driven by the bad guys' obsession with eliminating one minor witness,
even if they have to blow apart a whole city and reveal themselves in the process. Inevitably, Jake figures out that the gangs are innocent and becomes a target himself. And naturally, Franklin's goons don't just shoot the Street Knight. They set their champions on him in one-on-one martial-arts
duels. Surprisingly, Jake doesn't mind fighting dirty, so he triumphs, as the rival gangs--rousted by Carlos--converge on Franklin in a renewed spirit of co-operation.
Director Albert Magnoli (PURPLE RAIN) orchestrates STREET KNIGHT's mayhem efficiently, if unmemorably. He doesn't push the noxious blame-Whitey subtext too hard, nor does he make lambs out of the Blades and the Latin Lords; aside from meek Carlos, they're unglorified punks. Though he looks
rather young and fresh for a burnt-out veteran lawman, Jeff Speakman (THE PERFECT WEAPON) has the right stuff for a comfortable niche in action pictures, and the script crowns him with the ultimate accolade: he quotes Schwarzenegger. (Profanity, graphic violence, nudity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: The story hook for STREET KNIGHT is the so-called gang truce, a grass-roots solution to youth crime that became trendy in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, as ghetto gangs across the nation held councils and called a halt to their endless turf battle… (more)