Dead Presidents VHS
Twin brother codirectors Albert and Alan Hughes planned their first film, the 1991 ghetto crime drama Menace II Society as a response to John Singleton's Boyz N the Hood, which they considered wimpy and moralistic. They set their sights on The Deer Hunter in this ambitious follow-up, and they just about pull it off. Larenz Tate (from Why Do Fools Fall in Love) plays Anthony Curtis, an open-hearted African American teenager who gets shipped out to Vietnam with several of his pals, witnesses unspeakable horrors, and then struggles to readjust to civilian life. The evolving textures of life in a declining inner-city neighborhood over a period of a decade are seamlessly evoked, and there's enough nuanced character development and personal interaction for a seven-hour miniseries. Still in their early 20s, the Hughes brothers are already poised and masterful moviemakers; they cover an enormous amount of historical and emotional ground, and every twist and turn is crystal clear. They betray their inexperience only at the very end, in an elaborately staged heist sequence that, while stunningly executed, feels a bit desperate, as if they were reaching blindly for a big payoff. Chris Tucker (Rush Hour) has a startling supporting role as a kid who becomes junkie during the war, and never quite recovers. --David Chute
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The only reason I rated this 4 out of 5 is due the abrupt ending that doesn't seem right. It makes you feel so invested within the whole movie and then it cuts! Just like that. No closing statement whatsoever. Still a very good movie nonetheless.
Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate)tries to be a good citizen. He graduates from a Bronx high school and feeling that he is not ready for collge joins the Marine Corps and is sent to Vietnam where he is a member of a special Recon platoon. After serving his counrty he returns to his old neighborhood to find everything that he believed in has changed. Struggling to get by he plans with some friends an armored car robbery.
The film is one of the most powerful that I have seen dealing with the return of veterans in a long time. What we get is a universal story not just a black one and the Hughes Brothers are to be commended for this. The film is a period piece and evokes the time in question quite well. If there is a flaw with this film it is that the ending seems a little contrived. The robbery did not have to happen to make this film enjoyable. It was put on simply so that the film could be labeled as an action film. Action sells better than dramas about characters obviously.
The disc I viewed was a rather bare bones affair. This is a film that should be rereleased in a better edition on the order of the Hughes Brothers From Hell release. A commentary track would have been appreciated.
See this one it's worth it.
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