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Boyz n the Hood
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Reviews & Ratings for
Boyz n the Hood More at IMDbPro »

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79 out of 88 people found the following review useful:

Hard, thoughtful film with messages for everybody

10/10
Author: mstomaso from Vulcan
27 May 2005

John Singleton's Boyz n the Hood remains one of the best fictionalized and most poignant summaries of some of America's toughest internal problems - racism, violence, poverty, and drug abuse. This is not a hip-hop film, nor a detached and dehumanized story about "gang violence" (the great over-simplified scapegoat of the issues treated in this film), its a story about growing up fatherless or motherless in a war zone with a faceless enemy, where people do not value each other's lives at all and value their own lives only slightly more.

Laurence Fishburn leads one of the best casts of the early 1990s, in his memorable portrayal of Furious Styles, a father trying to raise his son (Cuba Gooding Jr) well in an environment where murder and substance abuse are day-to-day realities - South Central L.A. The film follows his son, Tre, and his friends, from the hardships of childhood in an irrelevant educational system and a neighborhood which doesn't allow kids to be kids, through to the realities of making decisions about the value of life and the development of responsibility and hope as young adults.

The cast disappears into their characters and brings each one to life in a unique and powerful way. losing the identities of big personalities like Fishburne and Ice Cube is no mean feat. Many of the performances recorded here are award-worthy - Fishburne, Bassett, Chesnutt, Gooding, and Ice Cube are especially memorable. For me personally, this is the film that convinced me that Ice Cube was destined to become a major personality in American cinema. While I had enjoyed some of his music prior to this film, it was here that I was first exposed to his versatility and intelligence as an actor.

While some may see some of the film's messages as heavy-handed, and others might have issues with the fact that the film deals with so many of the problems of inner-city life in a very 'in-your-face' almost archetypal manner, I find these criticisms impossible to justify.

This is a great film about real issues, sensitively portrayed and thoughtfully examined. Every American who cares about the vast untapped potential of our people ought to take a long, hard look at this one. These are not 'black problems', they are everybody's problems, and their solutions will require everybody's understanding. I could think of far worse places to begin developing that understanding than Boyz n the Hood.

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64 out of 85 people found the following review useful:

The best ghetto film of all time.

Author: sixerzpac3 from Reading, PA
26 July 2004

Boyz N The Hood Directed by: John Singleton Country: USA Year: 1991 Running time: 107 minutes Starring: Laurence Fishburne and Cuba Gooding Jr.

"I watched the news this morning. Either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood. They had all this foreign sh-t. They didn't have sh-t on my brother, man."

The mother of Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.) decides to send her son to live with his father, Furious Styles (Laurence Fishburne), after he gets into a fight at school. Furious, who lives in the heart of South Central LA, is a man that knows the values of how to respect and how to earn it. He's strict, but he's fair. Furious works as a mortgage broker.

We watch Tre mature from a young boy to his senior year in high school taking the SAT's. His two best friends are brothers. Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is a great athlete and is getting into college to support his girlfriend and infant son. The other brother, Doughboy (Ice Cube), is headed down a totally opposite path of guns, drugs, gangs, and violence. He's in and out of prison each year.

Furious knows that his son could get killed easily, as he was once involved with the gang scene himself. He wants Tre to graduate college and be good in whatever his profession may be.

As the story goes more in depth, we see that even if you aren't involved in a gang, you could still be a target. Whether it's your brother, cousin, sister, or other family member that is thee one involved with the violence, the main target could be the person in the family who stays away from the dangers of the street.

Tre and his friends are in a world where being violent is sometimes the way to live. Helicopters are heard searching for murderers every night. The police are so busy, that sometimes a 9-1-1 call could mean waiting for the police to arrive. There is even one Black-cop, who uses his power to try and intimidate young Blacks who he thinks might be involved in the gangs and violence.

This is the ultimate ghetto film, which will never be topped. All of the direction and screenplay is brilliant. Singleton doesn't use cheap scenes that get the viewer off-topic and the audience, as a whole, is always into the movie. Come into a world that most of us haven't been in. Follow the life of one boy who turns into a man as he has to not only goes through personal struggles, but has to worry about whether he'll be killed at any moment. -Pat

10/10

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38 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

A gripping tale about South Central L.A.

8/10
Author: Agent10 from Tucson, AZ
22 May 2002

John Singleton's best film also proved to be one of my favorite movies about life in the streets. Cuba Gooding, Jr. displayed early on he was going to be a respectable actor. The power of the film has yet to be matched as most modern interpretations of street life prove to be violent stylizations. While Singleton has taken a couple missteps along the way, this film still stands up rather well by today's standards. The motives and actions appear realistic, especially Doughboy's thirst for revenge. A good film, which not only helped improve Laurence Fishburne's career, but introduced us to Gooding.

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40 out of 52 people found the following review useful:

Remarkable Film From First-Time Director

Author: evanreverb from Sydney, Australia
19 April 2004

An exemplary directorial debut from John Singleton, who managed to create an American classic with his first effort.

As we follow Tre Styles from childhood toward becoming a young adult (as played effectively by Cuba Gooding, Jr.), and attempting to dodge, with the cautious guidance of his parents, the many dangers and risks associated with growing up in inner-city America, the sense of ever-present danger and, often, hopelessness associated with attempting to avoid falling into the cracks of society is abundantly clear.

In the role of Tre's troubled friend Dough Boy, Ice Cube is something of a revelation, and his balanced performance, alongside Singleton's excellent script, prevent him from becoming merely another gangster caricature. Lawrence Fishburne and Morris Chestnut add further depth to a strong cast.

All in all a very real, gritty depiction of the challenges faced at every turn by African American men and women in modern America. The building anger bristling beneath the surface in so many scenes is particularly resonant given the outburst of violence in the Rodney King Riots that took place in the very same city of the story just one year later.

The film spawned several 'urban gang flick' imitations in subsequent years, but most glorified violence and placed an emphasis on a loud soundtrack and sexual explicitness at the expense of strong plot-line, good character development and a serious social message.

All three are to be found in Boyz N the Hood.

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28 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Place for Race

9/10
Author: mbucky from United States
20 May 2005

Most movies about life in the hoods of LosAngeles, New York City, and other urban areas of the U.S. are discounted as novelty entertainment for audiences seeking sex and violence. Out of an era of gangster rap came a nationwide exposure of the issues within the Black and Latino communities, and directors like John Singleton and the Hughes Brothers follow in the footsteps of the great Spike Lee. The film Boyz n the Hood is an intricate examination of the archetypes and stereotypes of the hood, as well as an introduction to the survivors, both trapped in the violence and escaping the cycle. The film concentrates on a Black community without the interactions between communities shown in Do the Right Thing, another epic race commentary. The direction of the film is fluid and natural, the acting heartfelt and strong, the affect extraordinary. The message of the movie is deeper than White or Italian based gangland movies, because the human aspect and the characters are more solid and approachable, and rooted in highly intellectual and applicable theories on race and violence. This film is a showcase of the radical and moderate themes expressed by Black activists, with Laurence Fishburne's character as the leader and role model of the film. A careful examination of the film reveals a strong message and a strong film. Don't underestimate the power of this film.

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23 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

A profound ghetto film

8/10
Author: Angeneer from Athens, Greece
31 May 2001

John Singleton with his debut film cleared easily any opposition in the ghetto life genre. These are real characters facing real problems. Singleton goes one step beyond Spike Lee, analyzing and not only describing, proposing and not only denouncing. The film gets even more absorbing by the terrific camera work and the top notch acting.

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25 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

hood ornaments, but this is more than an ornament

9/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
3 August 2006

It's hard to believe that John Singleton's work degenerated so in later years, because his debut was a masterpiece. We probably all have to agree that "Boyz n the Hood" was basically the first "growing up in the ghetto" movie, showing how these African-American youths are surrounded by violence during their childhoods - some perpetrated by the cops, some is their own doing - but they all have to find a way to keep going. If the movie has any problem, it's that it opened the flood gates to a series of similar inferior movies (but also the hilarious satire "Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood").

Anyway, this is the one that I recommend. Cuba Gooding Jr. made a very good debut. Also starring Laurence Fishburne, Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Nia Long and Angela Bassett.

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25 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Movie

Author: jmorrison-2 from Farmington Hills, MI
24 May 2002

Well-done movie by John Singleton, and very well-acted. Well-developed characters, and people you come to really care about. What's especially sad is we actually have areas of this country where the brutality and senselessness portrayed here is all too real. Cuba Gooding, Jr. is exceptional as a bright young man deperately trying to not get sucked into the endless rage and revenge life of his boyhood pals. Laurence Fishburne is tremendous as a father trying to steer his son through this minefield of a life, and on to better things.

One complaint, his "Don't trust the white man" speech has gotten ridiculously old. This attitude serves absolutely no one, and makes all of us, white and black, worse off because of it. It's time this ceased to be portrayed in movies.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Rick, it's the Nineties. Can't afford to be afraid of our own people anymore, man.

9/10
Author: JohnRouseMerriottChard from United Kingdom
31 August 2009

1991

"One out of every twenty-one Black American males will be murdered in their lifetime"

"Most will die at the hands of another Black male"

"Increase The Peace" is the closing message of John Singleton's powerful, intelligent and affecting call for calm in South Central Los Angeles. Often mistakenly presumed by those who haven't seen it to be a film that glamorises violence, Singleton's debut film takes us into South Central and holds us there by just shooting the story. No trickery or overtly moralistic posturing from the director {and writer}, just an unpretentious look at life in a modern ghetto.

The story follows three black teenagers as they ponder on what life holds for them as adulthood lurks from around the corner. Brothers Doughboy {Ice Cube} and Ricky Baker {Morris Chestnut} and best friend Tre Styles {Cuba Gooding Jr}, each have the usual worries that come with leaving the teenage years behind. Parents, girls, careers, not returning to the pen! But this is no ordinary coming of age drama, we have been party to this neighbourhood that these boys live in. This is a place where a trip to the store can get you killed in a drive by shooting. A place where those keen to learn, and do their homework have their muse shattered by the frequent sound of gunshots and sirens filling the South Central night.

Tho Singleton can be accused of painting some of his characters as too saintly, he should be forgiven since this is after all, a message movie. Besides which his portrait of this particular neighbourhood is done from honest memory since he himself be a former youth of South Central LA. There in lies one of Boyz's trump cards, Singleton, thru his own observations, asks of those in "The Hood" to take responsibility for what they do. Something that is potently given narrative credence courtesy of Tre's father's {a fabulous understated Laurence Fishburne} deep musings. Once the built up tension explodes with the inevitable tragedy that all should be ready for, the impact is like a sledgehammer hitting bone. Not in a blood letting for impact sake, but with it's aftermath as a family soaks up the situation. It gives 90s cinema one of its most affecting and damning scenes, one that once viewed is hard to fully shake out of the memory bank. Here Singleton could possibly have bowed out of the story, but he goes further, expanding the aftermath and taking us, along with the characters, to it's final "Increase The Peace" dénouement.

It's been called everything from an After School Special to the most important Black American movie made thus far. I agree with the last assessment. 9/10

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Tough and unflinching

8/10
Author: Wayne Malin (wwaayynnee51@hotmail.com) from United States
29 January 2007

A movie that takes place in South Central Los Angeles in 1991. I don't know about now but, at that time, that area was crime ridden with drug deals and murders happening almost daily. Father Jason Styles (Larry Fishburne) tries to bring up his son Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) correctly despite all the violence around them. It also deals with two friends of Tre--Darin (Ice Cube) an angry young black man and his brother Ricky (Morris Chestnut) who wants to go to college. It all leads up to a truly harrowing ending.

Director John Singleton's first movie is incredibly powerful and still his best movie (so far). From what I've heard he captured exactly what it was like to grow up in that area. It's a little dated though--the guy sucking on the pacifier confuses some people but that was a big fad back in 1991. It's just unbelievable that kids grew up in an area like that and survived. The story itself is a little too simplistic (the good and bad brothers) and it's basically just the story of a teenager coming of age--but it still works. Singleton wisely doesn't accuse anyone of how the situation is and offers no solutions. He just presents it in a matter of fact way which makes this all the more powerful.

The acting is just great. Fishburne and Gooding play a father and son perfectly. Fishburne is just incredible--Gooding falters a few times (and it's obvious that he's no teenager) but he's still very good. Ice Cube is a little one note in his character (always angry and sullen) but it fits. Chestnut is just great.

People should be warned--there's tons of profanity (but that is how kids talk) and the ending gets very bloody and disturbing. I still remember people crying out loud in the audience back in 1991. A powerful film and well worth seeing.

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