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The cinematography by Dixon gives you the feel of Harlem during that era. This will go down as a classic hip-hop film with a great soundtrack. All-in-all this film is a must have if you are a fan of the genre, and a decent pick-up if you are not particularly fond of these types of films.
*** 1/2 out of **** stars.
I enjoyed this movie, a good solid hood film. The acting is superb, especially from Tupac and Epps. Really strong leading performances. The transformation of Bishop from the start to the end is played out perfectly by Tupac.
The movie has a great urban old school feel with a belting hip hop sound track. It's funny, tense, emotional and gritty. Watch this if you are into this type of genre, even if your not, its definitely worth a watch.
The boys call themselves "The Wrecking Crew," and are trying to survive with what they have in a dangerous town. They spend most of their time at an arcade or a record shop when they cut school a little early, most of the time being harassed by the police or a gang in the process. One day, one of the boys named Bishop (Shakur) buys a gun, and convinces the other three members to come along in stickup. They rob the store, and from that moment on things go from bad to worse for the boys.
There is a subplot involving another one of the gang's members nicknamed "Q" (Epps) who is an aspiring DJ, and has a big DJ competition the night of the planned robbery.
Writer and Director Ernest R. Dickerson has worked as the cinematographer on various Spike Lee films, and this marks his very first shot behind the camera. While Juice is passable and well-made, it suffers by comparison with film's made by Lee like Do the Right Thing and School Daze. It also can be compared to Boyz N The Hood, another excellent hood film by John Singleton.
I believe because of Spike Lee films and works of John Singleton is the reason why Juice has slipped through the cracks. It has a following, but because of strong critical acclaim surrounding the other pictures and this one just having mixed reviews is the reason why this isn't remembered as well as the other films.
The moral of Juice is great about a psychological change one person can go through in a matter of time, the message about gun violence, and strong friendships being tested. However - this is taken in a more clichéd manner than any other hood film I've seen. We don't know a whole lot about the characters, and we don't know about they're raised. We don't get the parental backstory which is what Boyz N The Hood was cluttered with.
I'm recommending Juice for its morals, its sense of realism, and its subject matter. However, the delivery is a little askew, and the four boys aren't developed as well as they could be. This is still one more realistic hood film that many should make time to see, but this film only reaches the level of average to decent while all of Singleton's films surpassed the above average mark.
Starring: Omar Epps, Tupac Shakur, Jermaine "Huggy" Hopkins, Khalil Kain, Samuel L. Jackson. Directed by: Ernest R. Dickerson.
Me and my sister showed this movie to our little brother because he's been caught stealing SEVERAL times from the family business - so we made him watch this and he rather-ed enjoyed it until the killing came along. And we could see it in his eyes, he did begin to think 'what if... that was me'.
What was great about the movie is that it wasn't too predictable nor was it too complex to for a 14 year old to follow.
After watching the movie we lectured him about how a simple theft can lead to more and more crime, and eventually - your life being taken away.
So, not only was it enjoyable - I it was also rather educational.
Plus it made me look at the person of Tupac Shakur from another point of view. Though it's "only" a movie, he makes you think that he's actually crazy and if you cross his path, he'll take you out.
I love 2Pac as rapper and this was his first movie I've seen and I have to say that the film did fulfill exactly what I thought it would be, when talking about it's quality.
At the end I just want to add that I'm really glad I have grown up in a happy home in a rather quiet neighborhood!
I recommend this to all. It's worth watching it.
The storyline isn't a bad one and serves to entertain as well as teach. It actually succeeds in doing both. Granted, the movie is a bit predictable, but thankfully this doesn't ruin the experience entirely.
Overall, I give the movie 8 stars. The only real drawbacks being its somewhat predictability and Shakur's tendency to overact.
Dickerson's directorial manner is sleek and balanced, his camera and editing preferences are not as out there and in-your-face as Spike Lee, yet he knows exactly where to put the camera for each scene (the cross-cutting police interrogation sequence is most dynamic, better than that of "The Usual Suspects" and it pre-dates that film by 3 years as well). Dickerson also chooses to avoid the obvious route expected in these kinds of films and delivers a sad, somber ending. The film is stamped hard with the look, sound and feel of the early 90's (an excellent era of those "urban" films if you ask me), colorful clothing, an excellent hip-hop soundtrack and murky neon lighting. If this is up your alley, I also suggest Bill Duke's equally powerful "Deep Cover" (also from 1992). It's too bad that Dickerson's further efforts have not topped this engaging premiere.
Juice: it's the goal of their lusts and the cause of their fall. In the street vernacular it means power and respect, and is embodied largely in the simple possession of a gun. To take this path, to take up this tool, will hold dire consequences for every one of the crew.
It is an engrossing pleasure to watch Bishop (played with disturbing intensity by Tupac Shakur) as his already thin shell of morality, held tentatively in place by his crew, erodes completely away... spelling doom for those around him. Equally gripping is Omar Epps' Q, struggling vainly against the nightmare his world has become, the judgment of the ledge looming in his future. As their world falls around them, Bishop, Q, Raheem, and Steel must come to terms with the choices they've made, the darkness they have embraced, and the consequences of power misused. Rakim said it best: Let's see if they know the ledge.
This movie never had any bad, boring, plain or corny moments to it. Throughout the whole movie was full of substance.
This movie might not be for everyone however... but if you like 'hood movies, then this is an easy rec. If you like any drama movies, this is an easy rec. If you just like comedy movies, then I wouldn't recommend this to you. But, being me, I love the urban hood drama movies... and this one was one of the best was I've seen, 10/10 stars.
This movie is kind of a signpost of the whole hip hop culture and is a reflection of the good and bad sides, summation in the plot. Even what happens to Tupac's character, is a mirror to what was to come with him, but in a mixed up way. Bishop was nowhere near as spiritually centred as Tupac.
There are some awesome footage in the movie that so encapsulates 1991 hip hop culture, that positive uplifting vibe that seemed to dissipate within a matter of months into 1992. The whole cast is perfect for the characters. It's not an overly complex theme or movie, but it's full of neat little dialogues, good acting, some pretty decent cinematography and fun aspects. Q's dedication to the DJ art-form is pretty good too. I'm a DJ and could relate to a lot of what he was going through, and even the DJ competition was pretty close to reality, but some of the audio overdubs do not match up with the action. That's probably my only negative, and most of my friends never noticed those glitches, because they don't spin.
A great movie to give a chance if you come across it. Some dark themes, and it makes a balanced picture. A classic of urban culture of the 90's.