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|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Vondie Curtis Hall|
scr Vondie Curtis Hall, Darin Scott
with Tyrese Gibson, Meagan Good, Larenz Tate, H Hunter Hall, The Game, Julius Denem, Darris Love, Poverty Tommy Abate, Earl Minfield, Sean Anthony Moran, Don Salmon, Wil E Young
release US 23.Jun.06, UK 3.Nov.06
06/US Rogue 1h37
Counting the cost: Gibson and Good
The cast just about escapes with its dignity after this derivative, predictable urban thriller. Not only is it inept and clunky, it actually glorifies brutal violence in the name of family values.
Otis (Gibson), aka O2, is an ex-con trying to go straight. But when his useless cousin Lucky (Tate) neglects to collect his pre-teen son Junior (Hall) from school, O2 is forced to quit his job to leave early. Clearly he'll do anything for Junior. And this is about to be tested big time, when he's carjacked while Junior's in the car. O2 must now round up large quantities of cash, with the help of petulant hooker Coco (Good), to retrieve Junior from the vile thug Meat (The Game).
Hall and Scott's screenplay is an assembly of laziest plot contrivances, and they don't even bother to connect the dots. Although they don't need to, since we've seen everything so often that we can write the final act ourselves, down to the smallest detail. And as a director, Hall indulges in corny slo-mo, cheesy editing, cliched soundtrack tunes and the same ending as his last unsubtle mess, Glitter. But without the comedy value
It's all preposterous. O2 tells Junior, "I love you, knucklehead," then neglects to buckle Junior's seatbelt. The bad guys can aim their guns; even when O2 is surrounded by machine guns, he manages to shoot his way out. While the men gun down each other, the women get their way by being slutty. You could almost accept these things if the film had some style, or if the action scenes weren't so incoherent.
But the worst thing is the warped morality. His son may be in peril, but that doesn't make it acceptable for O2 to rob, assault, execute people in cold blood or drive like a complete madman. Even the moment of tenderness between him and Coco is fraudulent: he gives her a beautiful necklace ... which they've just stolen. So when someone calls them a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, you laugh out loud because it's just so, so wrong.
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© 2006 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
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