Adventure / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 84%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 71%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 3292


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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Michael Ledo 6 / 10

The kid with two red shoes

Brandon (Jahking Guillory) is the 15 year old runt in his circle of friends. He is poorer than the other kids and basically indistinguishable. He believes if he gets a pair if Air Jordon sneakers i.e. "kicks" his whole life will change. He will be able to float on air like an astronaut...his dream persona. So not to give it all away, he gets them, they get stolen, and now he must venture into Oakland to get them back.

This is one of the better produced urban films. Apparently someone on the set had an astronaut suit, so hey, let's put it in the script. It made the film more artsy, but didn't add anything to the plot. I wasn't sure of the theme. Risking your life for a pair of shoes is stupid? Or a rite of manhood? Where was the insight? The message? There are people who really love this film because it is so gritty and realistic and all the things I didn't see. To be kind to the film would be to describe it as "uneven." The film is characterized as an 'adventure" when I would call it a "drama with an imaginary space suit." Flaco (Kofi Siriboe) and Marlon (Mahershala Ali) were interesting, more interesting than the main character.

Engaging, but not exciting.

Guide: F-word, implied sex, grinding, no nudity

Reviewed by jfftalbot 7 / 10

Yes, you should watch this.

"Sometimes I wish I had a spaceship.. Just hangout in space where it's quiet. And no one can f**k with me."

Kicks starts out with us being introduced to Brandon, a 15 year old living in the East Bay. We meet his two best friends Albert and Rico. The three live a normal day to day life of school, chasing girls, and getting high. Brandon is small for his age and doesn't a hold a lot of confidence within himself. This is due to his size, his longing for and lack of experience with the opposite sex, and most of all his confidence and status among his peers. Brandon's sneakers are busted, and he can't afford a sought after pair of Jordans. Albert and Rico both have Jordans. And hot kicks mean status.

This is a world where "J's" and other symbols give you a status.. Where others might look at you like you ARE someone. Where others admire and aspire for what you have.

We see this when Brandon acquires a pair of J's from a street vendor, and soon thereafter is beaten up by a group of thugs led by a man named Flaco. He is forced to give them away. The three boys decide to embark on an adventure over the bridge to Oakland to get the kicks back.

Don't get me wrong, this film isn't about Jordans. Or status. It's a coming of age film where we witness a boy at a point in his life where he learns to stand up for himself, and to truly realize what's important.

This is director Justin Tipping's feature-length debut. Tipping's realistic vision of this world comes through full force in Kicks. The film is presented in chapters each with a title card featuring a song that is a bit of a hint at what's to come. The cinematography by Michael Ragen is beautiful and aesthetically the film is absolute. The acting by Jahking Guillory (Brandon) and Kofi Siriboe (Flaco) is memorable.

The film is fast and harsh at times, yet so dreamy and alluring at others. The portrayal of how violent our world can be is disheartening, although at the end of the film you are able to corral a sense of hope. I would recommend this movie to anyone, and I'll be looking forward to Tipping's next project.

Reviewed by lucasnochez 9 / 10

Film Review: Kicks

Special Notes:*(We are going to do this review a little bit different this time around. Inspired by the motion picture being reviewed, In a heading format, whatever heading is bold, make sure you listen to suggested song, during each segment of this review. Read, listen, and enjoy!)*

INTRO-J. Cole (Album: 2014 Forest Hills Dr.)

"Sometimes I wish I had a spaceship. Just hangout in space where its quiet; and no one could f*ck with me."

As the pulsating first frames of Justin Tipping's feature film debut Kicks begins, we see our main protagonist Brandon (Jahking Guillory) running from some kids in a basketball court in slow motion, during the dead of night. As the veins pop from Brandon's forehead, the sweat beads drip, and his pearly white teeth are clinch together desperately (in fear of being caught), one can't help but wonder, what exactly did Brandon do? A young, naive and innocent high school kid who just wants a pair of Jordan One's Bred (Black and Red), a kid who just wants to be accepted and treated equally as everyone else, and not be picked for his height, size, economic status and old, worn out sneakers, Brandon is tired of running. As the film unfolds, we never really know why Brandon is being chased, as one may quickly observe, there may very well be no good reason as to why he is being chased at all. In Big Bay, Richmond, California, Brandon runs away from everyone and everything. That is until, Brandon makes a fateful choice, which, in the course of two days, shifts his world in heart-beating and consequential ways.

Brandon is an obvious target for bullies; his stature is frail, his body is small, his mannerisms are delicate and his look is quite feminine. Yet, Brandon knows that there is still a shred of hope for him among his schoolmates, peers and on the street; and that is getting the pair of shoes he wants. As a young boy growing up in Toronto, Canada, the subculture of sneakers could never be as understood as the subculture of sneakers then, the subculture of sneaker culture now, especially within the modern ghetto's of the United States. Once you have some worthy 'kicks' (slang for shoes or fancy sneakers), it doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, what your parents do or how you got them. All that matters is that, they're yours.

As we become submerged into Brandon's world, we are introduced to some of the important people in Brandon's life; his best friends Rico (Christopher Meyer), a ladies man who has his way with women; and wannabe ladies man Albert (Christopher Jodan-Wallace, son of Notorious B.I.G and Faith Evans) who talks endlessly about his questionable conquests with women. It soon becomes clear that, in the world of high school and gangsters in Big Bay, California, parents and adults are absent in the roles in their children's lives, and that's usually because of their dedication to their entry-level and minimum wage paying jobs to keep their low-income homes and families afloat. No parents are shown or introduced throughout the course of the film, even within the homes of each of our protagonists. It can only be suggested that Tipping sees the presence of parents as unimportant in the world of adolescents, especially since the streets of Brandon's hood are run and dominated by the high school bullies and low-level gangsters of the street blocks, which rings even more true during the hours of school. The adolescents in the film, as well as the rawness of these very real situations happening in every slum in America, are the true stars of Kicks.

Nikes- Frank Ocean (Album: Blonde)

Tipping, who almost simultaneously introduces each and every new character by zooming his camera onto their feet and shoes, does a masterful job of associating shoes with personas. Which makes for an interesting allegory of character, especially in the case of Brandon.

Brandon is an only-child, fifteen year old kid navigating through the rough terrain of ghetto America. So after countless rainy days spent on the corner of a busy intersection, combined with all the saved up "emergency" birthday money he has accumulated over the years, as well as the advice of his mother, the day that some hustling street salesmen by the name of Daryl (Mistah F.A.B), with a van full of Nike boxes entices Brandon over to his direction, Brandon is more than hooked.

Left paralyzed with the idea of popularity and acceptance on the streets, in his school, with his friends and most of all, with girls, Brandon buys his dream Nike's impulsively, spending all of the money he owns, including his money hustling on the street, for his Nike Jordan One's. Once purchased, Brandon gazes at the shoe-box on top of a vintage vinyl player, like an astronaut gazing out the window of his rocket-ship, looking at the stars, Brandon is in complete and utter awe.

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