A rogue veteran police officer breaking in a naive new partner. The corrupt boss sending them down a dangerous path for his own sinister benefit. Brutal, cold-blooded felonies and murders. A racially charged cityscape ready to explode. The usual clichés get trotted out in this hard-bitten tale of the thin line between cops and criminals, based on a story by L.A. Confidential‘s James Ellroy and adapted for the screen by Training Day‘s David Ayer, but director Ron Shelton reanimates them with grim style. And strong performances, surprisingly more dignified than we’ve come to expect from this kind of thing — from Kurt Russell (3000 Miles to Graceland), Ving Rhames (Lilo & Stitch), and relative newcomer Scott Speedman (Duets) — elevate a story with which we’re all too familiar into something that feels fresh, and by the electrifying ending, we’ve forgotten that we already knew how it would all wind up.