Entertaining but nondescript and predictable, STREET CRIMES attempts to combine kick-boxing, urban gang violence and other elements of more hardcore action films with the tale of a young cop coming of age in troubled downtown Los Angeles.
Rookie policeman Tony Carter (Mike Worth) is taken under the wing of his partner, the seasoned veteran Brian O'Neal (Dennis Farina) as they combat prostitution, street crime and particularly a drug ring run by a Black gang led by Gerardo (James T. Morris). In attempting to quell Hispanic gang
warfare, Tony is challenged to a kickboxing match by Jimmy (Ron Winston Yuan), which Tony wins, although the two eventually become friends. The bouts soon become regular events, with more cops joining in, becoming a positive force on the violence-splattered neighborhood. O'Neal helps fix up a
community center, and the residents, seeing their neighborhood becoming less violent, pitch in, too.
Gerardo, however, sees this bonding as a threat to his drug business and begins harassing Tony, with whom he grew up, eventually killing Jimmy and kidnapping Susan (Patricia Zehentmayr), O'Neal's blind daughter, with whom Tony, fulfilling O'Neal's worst fears, has fallen in love. Tony and O'Neal
rescue Susan, and Tony bests Gerardo in a brutal kickboxing showdown. As everyone files into the gym to celebrate, Tony ponders the beaten Gerardo's final words, that however strong the cops-neighborhood relationship is now, it eventually will "not make a difference."
Written by Stephen Smoke, who also directed, STREET CRIMES is strictly formula fare, but it downplays the usual genre violence and nudity in welcome favor of socially redeeming themes, which is also unusual in the tough action films of the seasoned low-budget production team of Charla Driver,
Joseph Mehri and Richard Pepin (THE ART OF DYING, RING OF FIRE, A TIME TO DIE). Smoke's direction is adequate but routine, although the kickboxing bouts, both in and out of the ring, are well choreographed by Art Camacho. The acting is above average, especially by Farina (a former Chicago cop best
known from TV's "Crime Stories") as a tough-tender cop still grieving for his wife and now in danger of "losing" his daughter to however worthy a suitor. (Violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: Entertaining but nondescript and predictable, STREET CRIMES attempts to combine kick-boxing, urban gang violence and other elements of more hardcore action films with the tale of a young cop coming of age in troubled downtown Los Angeles. Rookie policeman… (more)