Menace II Society

1993

Action / Crime / Drama / Thriller

66
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 85%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 93%
IMDb Rating 7.5 10 45146

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Samuel L. Jackson as Tat Lawson
James Stewart as George Bailey in 'It's a Wonderful Life'
1080p.BLU
1.44 GB
1920*1080
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 37 min
P/S 8 / 31

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Spikeopath 8 / 10

I thought killing those fools would make me feel good, but it really didn't make me feel anything.

The directorial debut of twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes, Menace II Society is a tough, no nonsense look at youthful black life in the Watts section of Los Angeles. The Hughes Brother's movie charts the hapless life of Caine (Tyrin Turner) as he seeks to escape the ghetto. The son of both a drug dealer (Samuel L. Jackson in a potent appearance) and an addict, Tyrin, surrounded by guns and a machismo culture, is tied to his friends and the way of life afforded him. Even as love and a chance of a way out arises with Jada Pinkett's (terrific) pretty Ronnie, it's doubtful if Tyrin will escape from the revolving door of death.

Menace II Society had a troubled beginning, refused a video certificate on the grounds of its profane language and brutally violent scenes, it has since gone on to be viewed as one of the finer exponents of anti-violence involving Black Americans. That wasn't always the case though, many critics in the 90s were prone to calling it a film that glamorises the lifestyle of "Hood" gangsters, but offered a saver of sorts by correctly saying it had realism in amongst the harshness. Certainly the dialogue and regional slang was refreshing to hear, thus affording "Menace" and its makers praise for keeping it real, so to speak.

Ineviatbly comparisons were (are) drawn with John Singleton's 1991 film, Boyz n the Hood. But although "Menace" is rawer, uncompromising and more visceral with impact, it lacks the intelligence of Singleton's film. Where "Boyz" had fully rounded characters, character with which to hang your hat on to, "Menace" is just a social group of youths we neither know or care about outside of the group, ego driven dynamic. When lead protagonist Tyrin is trying to deal with his inner conflict, we the audience are treated to standard run of the mill melodrama. The streetwise edginess that the Hughes' began their film with (the opening is nigh on horrific) has long since gone as they try to make a film that touches all the bases of Black Americana.

Easily the most realistic of all the ghetto films made, in fact the film at times feels like we are on a documentary drive around downtown Watts. Menace II Society, however brutal it clearly is, has loaded the gun and shot the bullet, only to see it narrowly miss the whole target it was aiming for. Still it's one hell of an experience though. 8/10

Reviewed by bradskyb 1 / 10

This Movie Deserves No Accolades

This movie deserves none of the accolades it got. First off, the authenticity talked about in other reviews about ghetto life is so ridiculous I can't express how ignorant those people are. I grew up poor, so while I'm white, I can relate on some level to a lot of the trials of young black men in movies like Boyz n the Hood. That movie seemed pretty accurate. Those were just normal lower middle class to poor boys caught up in awful circumstances. Their lives resembled the rest of America in a lot of ways, but were punctuated by brief bouts of extreme gang and drug-related violence. That's pretty close to real.

Menace II Society, more like menace to reality. For one, there's no way a neighborhood could get this bad without the National Guard getting called in. I'm not kidding when I say that the level of violence and the frequency with which it is portrayed in this movie would make it worse than a literal war zone.

Another thing about the movie that angered me was the way in which the young men were portrayed. I don't know how the people of Watts felt about this movie when it came out, but if this was about where I grew up and the people I grew up around, I would be deeply insulted by it. I can't imagine a place filled with so many evil and useless people as the ones portrayed in this movie. I was surprised to see that it was directed by black men, because it struck me as racist when I was watching it. I was thinking to myself, "is this what movie goers really think inner city black people are like?" What a joke.

Even more annoying after watching this film was going online and reading all these rave reviews about the "authentic" nature of its portrayal. All by people who have never lived in a poor neighborhood nor spent any time in the ghetto. I've spent some time in some of the most crime ridden places in America and let me tell you, this kind of thing just does not go on the way they show it here. Sure there's elevated violent crime, but just go look at crime statistics for the early 90's in these places. This little group of kids would have exceeded the entire violent crime rate of Watts they did so many bad things in such a short amount of time. Shaking my head at this movie and all the people duped by it.

Reviewed by westen1223 9 / 10

Vastly unequivocal yet breathtaking

Menace II Society portrays urban hood life during the early 1990's perfectly and outstandingly. Unlike Boyz N the Hood, the film gives us an inner perspective on hood violence and the bloody consequences of certain individuals and may I say, they have done it fantastically. The cast members played their role momentously and their performances were exceptional, particularly Tyrin Turner and Larenz Tate.

Although the consistent violent scenes, the movie puts realism in several successful ways and that is why this is one of my favourite films of the 1990's. Powerful and poignant.

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