on March 14, 2003
Menace II Society is the story of Caine (Tyrin Turner) a young man living in Watts, Los Angeles. From the very beginning of the movie we follow Caine with an early flashback to his childhood to start . Caines narrative voice is found all throughout this movie. Things start off violent, and never really stop, from beginning to end there is bloodshed, but theres alot more than just violence in this movie, Caine lives a day to day existence, and its only in the end that he realizes whats important to him- Ronnie (Jada Pinkett), her son, his family and living. Other main character is Caines best friend 0-Dog (Larenz Tate) who is young, black and doesnt [care], his presence in movie is really a powerful one, and his lack of conscience contrasts with Caines. Movie also stars Vonte Sweet, Samuel L. Jackson and Glenn Plummer. Produced by Darin Scott & the Hughes Brothers. Tyrin Turner a still virtually unknown actor is excellent in this movie, and in my opinion deserves alot more credit than he has gotten.To say this movie is just powerful is an understatment, and to compare it to Boyz N the Hood is wrong too. There are some similarities, but Menace II Society is alot darker, and wasnt made to please the masses. Maybe thats why I like it so much, because the story is realistic and the makers dont play down the violence to get mainstream appeal. Would like to talk about some of key scenes but you dont do that when writing a review for people who havnt seen the movie, all I will say is this movie is definetly worth watching, and if your like me and really enjoy it, its worth having in the collection.
on January 14, 2007
A truly groundbreaking film about the harsh realities of life on the streets and hustling in the ghettos, 1993's "Menace II Society" gives us a poignant look at what can happen when wrong choices are made and when redeeming one's self is too late. This film also magnifies the pressures that many young African Americans must deal with on a daily basis.
Meet Caine Lawson (a brilliant performance from Tyrin Turner). As a boy in the Watts, California hood with his heroin addict mother and murdering drug dealer father Tat (Samuel L. Jackson), was it any wonder that Caine would become drawn to a similar lifestyle? When his parents die, Caine is sent to live with his grandparents. Fresh out of high school, Caine hits the streets as a drug hustler trying to make money for expensive cars to attract the ladies and to take care of Ronnie (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and Anthony, the family of his childhood role model Pernell who is in prison. It is a struggling situation between family/role model man, and the lure of the streets for Caine. Despite the preaching from his grandfather, trouble is always around the corner for Caine, especially when he's with his best friend O-Dog (a very convincing performance from (Larenz Tate), who is basically a don't give a f**k ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Besides being involved in a fatal convenience store shooting and being stalked by the police, Caine also struggles to keep himself alive. When his cousin gets killed and he himself gets shot, Caine realizes after talking with Ronnie that he needs to make a fresh start in life before it's too late. Traveling to Atlanta with her and Anthony may be the only thing that would save him. But there's no fighting the lure of street trouble; selling drugs, getting into mischief of O-Dog and the gang, getting back at the guys who killed his cousin and possibly impregnating a woman. But by the time Caine decides to go away with Ronnie and Anthony, his mistakes may have stirred up a hornet's nest that will come back to haunt him in the most tragic of ways. For Caine, it may be too late to redeem himself for good.
This movie is an eye-opener and sends a very harsh and true message about upbringing, lifestyles and choices. Boozing, drugs, shooting, attacking, cruising and all the while trying to survive, get respect and rise above, not to mention being a role model. These are just a few of the things that mirror inner city life. You can run from the streets, but the streets will always be in you. This is what Caine must face. Awesome funky hip-hip soundtrack and some serious intense acting make this movie great. The street-wise lingo, the clothes, the attitude; all this pulls the movie together. Special features include an in-depth interview with the Hughes twins who directed the film, as well as the theatrical trailer, and more. Watch the film, get engrossed and recognize!
on November 29, 2002
It seems that there are two distinct camps when it comes to Menace II Society. Those who either love Boys N the Hood and completely hate Menace II Society, and those who love Menace II Society and think that Boys N the Hood is okay or watered down. Unfortunately, the division of these two camps has placed both movies in categories that I don't think are appropriate for either one. Menace is more graphic and violent then BNTH, but both films are equally good.
Menace is a good film. The acting is a bit tried at times. Tyrin Turner is a virtually unknown actor with little under his belt. There were also a lot of unknown actors with very little experience. Yet, there were some extremly noteworthy performances. In particular, Larenz Tate, Jada Smith, and...suprisingly....MC Eight. I had a chance to meet Larenz in college a while back and it is almost hilarious how far removed from the character he actually is.
The storyline is extremely moving and graphic. For those living the life it is predictable. For those unaware of the street life it is shocking.
Overall, the entire movie will have you glued to your seat. I give this movie 5 stars because it moving and true to life.
on June 21, 2005
If you watch this movie only two things can happen, either you get it!! or you don't!!! believe me some people just don't have a clue!!! to where this movie is carrying them, far less to know when they have reach there.
Yes it's violent and yes it can show a side to African American lifestyles that can be sometimes really negative,it's also deep real isssues facing real life people everyday, this movie was way ahead of it times, you can watch this in 2005 and still relate to the situation in the present day, " the more we change and rearrange everything remains the same" I personally think this movie is bold!!!it was really hard to accept, this movie is definitely worth a watch, you can either get the message and learn or you get it all wrong and burn!!!! your choice!!! it's impressionable so i think it's not really for kids, but for young people searching for an identity this may be something you can relate to,,, good luck!!!!! this is a definite must have in my collection laterzzz folks.....
on September 20, 2003
"I'm gonna mess with this O.E." "You drinking that Ides?"
Probably one of the best scenes in Menace II Society, Cain and O-Dawg are buying a beer at the corner store and trobule springs when the Asian clerk makes fun of O-Dawg. Not all hood movies have as good as characters as Menace II Society or plot lines too. You do not really have to follow to much in this movie and it is not conufsing. Menace II Society is a powerful movie, but there is a little bit of comedy in it too. The only question I have and this really bothers me is, Why did someone have to come out and make fun of this classic along with Boys N The Hood and other hood movies ?(Juice, SOuth Central)Whenever I talk to someone about Menace II Society, they always say, "Oh yeah, Don't Be a Menace To South Central?" And I just shake my head, "No! Menace II Society!"
on March 26, 2002
I actually live in Watts right now, andmI was stunned by the depiction of life here. It looked like it might have actually been filmed in Watts. This movie was very realistic in the fact that young people in our community have extremely short tempers. One bit of criticism that I do have is about the part where Cane (the main character)steals the rims from the guy while in the drive-thru. That type of stuff just doesn't happen around here. But, the drug use and violence is very accurate, I know from experience. A great movie!
on October 9, 2001
Menace II Society. An odd name for a movie, you think on initial glimpse. Why II, and not to? Who's the menace? You pick up the box. There's a picture of two black kids on the front. OK, you read summary. It doesn't tell you much. So, by this point intrigued, you rent it. Good for you.
Menace starts out in a convience store. There's confrontation, and soon, two people are dead. The gunman is smiling and opening the register. His friend, Kane, screams at him and shivers with panic. We fade, and begin the story of Kane's life.
If you're the average white person living in America, what you hear in rap music and see on the news must be very distant from you.
Allen and Albert Hughes grapple us with their genius storytelling skills, and quickly, show us what we're so secure not to know. The daily living, the blood, the drugs, the not caring. What do these mean? The main character, Kane, is mixed up in all of it.
To himself, he wants out- way out- of his hoodlum life. Externally however, he wants in. He's never shot anybody, he's the clean one. But he sells drugs. He knows how to kill someone. He's been friends with people who have. Here we see his internal struggle to get out in stunning visual perspective.
The film itself has an expert way about it of opening our eyes to the culture, the environment, the lack of consequences, the police brutality- All of it, while still maintaining assemblence of structure in where it wants to go.
Most of this movie is painful to watch. Seeing Kane fall down his path of righteousness and commit sins he scoffed his brethren for commiting just days earlier. Seeing innocent lives be torn by misunderstanding. Seeing utterly meanless death. It should hurt to watch- the directors made sure of it- that's why it's so poignant.
The aforementioned sins that Kane commits jump into his future as well. Every time he has a chance to escape, he's pulled right back into the circle by something he himself did. As Kane matures and finds his way, the circle flows into it. It's reminicent of Michael Corleone in The Godfather.
Some other noticible traits of the film- it's incredibly stylistic when it wants to be, but graphically gritty others. Also, it does a good job of displaying irony- like a scene when Kane and friend walk down the street speaking of how the Bible won't help them- with crosses dangling from their necks. The use of fades, especially toward the beginning of the film, is well-timed and welcome.
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Menace II Society is a worthless piece of garbage about violence far from home. Maybe we don't need to see it. But that violence is real- and it's not so far away. I don't think I'm wrong. I think, that after this movie is finished, you'll be very glad you rented it.
on September 29, 2004
Menace II Society Movie Review
There have been many things stated about the movie I am reviewing. I have heard so many things from people about it. Yet still many people have never even heard or seen it. It is one of those movies that you have been just awed by it. It has so much character and content, it leaves audiences feeling as though the have missed something. This film which is none as Menace to Society is probably one of the best if not the best films depicting black youth and culture in the early 90's. This film is thought of as the new generation for the Boys-N-The Hood. This movie was filmed right around the time of the Rodney King beating. When there was a lot or racial profiling and racism going on in California. There was so much crime and crooked cops at the time; it was the perfect setting and a perfect story. Directed by the Hughes Brothers who also wrote and directed From Hell staring Johnny Depp, this film will be an all-time classic for society. If you ever wanted to know how the ghetto can be, and how it is molds an African-American male. Then this is the movie you need to see.
The movie stars Tyrin Turner as Cane the main star. He grows up having to see his father murder a guy when he was just a child. He also later has his father shot killed in a drug deal gone wrong and his mother overdose on heroin. He stays with his grandmother and grandfather. The movie picks up on his last day of high school before graduation. Where after that his life seems to kind of go on a dangerous adventure. He is accompanied by his friend O'Dogg who is played by Lorenz Tate. This character labeled as Americas worst nightmare a young black dude that don't give a F*** about nobody. Also, staring as his love interest Jada Pinkett-Smith, this movie has a up and coming actors and actresses.
This movie is an all-time great classic gangster movie. This is a movie that shows the ghetto and society as it is around that time. This is the Cornbread Earl and Me for my generation, the Boyz-N-The Hood. This represents what many people outside the black urban community do not see. This film to me is right up there with all other gangster movies; Scarface, Hoodlum, and all Godfathers. This movie represents the struggles the problems the consequences that black people in the urban community encounter. There is a part in the movie when Cane's grandfather sat down with him and O'Dogg. He asked them what were they going to do in life, he told them that the streets are not there forever and the only thing out there is jail or death. Neither one had an acceptable answer then he asked do they care whether they live or die? This is how everyone feels coming out of the ghetto, it's like the ghetto has a hold on you and there is hell to go through to break it. I know too many people that have gotten caught up in the ghetto and who may never make it out. It's a shame that it happens like this, but this is my main reason for identifying with the movie. For the rest of my life this may be the best black gangster movie representative of my African-American generation.
on September 11, 2006
Menace II Society was the debut film from the directing duo of the Hughes brothers, released in 1993 at the height of popularity of "hood movies". As most other reviewers have stated the film is an extemely powerful look at growing up in L.A in the early 90's. The movie grabs your attention straight away with the robbery of the liquor store and the controversial shooting of the Korean owners, and the pace never lets up throughout. Caine (Tyrin Turner) is basically a bystander in the opening scene as O-Dog (Larenz Tate) goes on a rampage, and this continues throughout the film, Caine is a good person but very much a victim of his circumstances, whereas O-Dog just "doesn't give a f**k".
Without going into plot details the events in the film all conspire against Caine and it all catches up with him in the inevitable ending. There are also good performances from Jada Pinkett and MC Eiht and a small role at the start from Samuel L Jackson as Caine's father. While the film is very powerful and a sad and realistic take on ghetto life, it is not without it's faults, the main one being the lack of depth of some of the characters. They never really explain Caine's relationship with Parnell, though he regularly refers to him as "like a dad" throughout the film. Also several of the other characters are hard to sympathise with as their background is never really explained (something I felt was done better in Boyz N The Hood),and I find it hard to believe Parnell would be cool with Caine's relationship with his girl. Despite these minor faults the film is still great though and the ending in particular was tragic and inevitable. One of the better hood movies of the early 90's, if your into them you should definetely check this out.
on September 9, 2009
Dang i remember when i first saw menace II society back in the day.lowriders were the thing having a set of daytons on your ride was the thing.this movie fit in perfect with that culture at the time.so i was so excited when this was released on dvd.what a letdown the most grainy mess i have ever seen and the sound was crappy.then here comes high def and blu-ray! now i finally got to see this movie the way i always wanted to it looks awesome! the soundtrack is rather subtle during dialogue but when called upon the gunfire music and sound effects kick your ass!it seems to me that they bumped up some of the gunfire and stuff on the original soundtrack and it sounds very natural.there seems to be a few video shots that didnt fare so well onto blu-ray but is very subtle and hardly noticable.so if you are a fan of this movie you are definatley in for a treat! the ending scene they really packed a wallop into the soundtrack and it is powerful as ever.you will not forget it.....peace