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Vusi Madlazi returns to the South African village he left as a young boy (he was organizing against apartheid, and left in fear of his life) to bury his father. He meets up with his brother Ernest, who tells him their other brother Stephen couldn't be contacted. Vusi goes to Johannesburg to find him, but at first can only find his neighbor/girlfriend, Karin, a stripper. Vusi proceeds to learn how conditions have changed since the end of apartheid, not always for the better for black men. Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
The film's US release date was switched and moved a number of times during 1996 before it was finally released in early 1997 with little fanfare. See more »
Karin's and Steven's apartments appear to be on the street level if you look from the street, but when Karin goes out the window to cross to Steven's apartment there's a street way down below. See more »
With this comically clumsy explanation of apartheid, an actual line from this unfortunate film, any meager hope for ``Dangerous Ground'' evaporated like a Transkei rain shower.
How flawed is this film?
Consider that its star, Ice Cube, utters that clunker yet is supposed to be believable as a South African exile living in the United States, a former student protest leader sent abroad as a teenager. He doesn't even attempt a credible accent, so his character, Vusi, winds up sounding straight outta South Central and not South Africa, where the film is set.
His costar, Elizabeth Hurley, as the semi-exotic dancer Karin, has a peculiar habit of answering her door wearing next to nothing, despite being on the run from nefarious drug-dealing thugs from the South African underworld.
Since Karin is conveniently the main squeeze of Vusi's wayward crackhead brother, also on the run from the aformentioned nasties, the pair are the unlikely salt-and-pepper buddy team that this film hangs upon. ``Hanged upon'' is probably more accurate, since there is zero rapport between the rapper and the perfume plugger.
There's not much action and even less suspense, and there's an unshakable air of implausibility every time Ice Cube opens his mouth. The things that work in this film are Ving Rhames as a driven drug lord and the unintentional humor from a script that is laughably bad when it is not outright stupid. For example:
Vusi's rental BMW is car-jacked, then he totals the replacement, then somehow gets another the same day?
A graduate student in African studies, with no other family in America, secures $14,000 in a day to pay off his brother's crack debt?
Two druggies proclaim extreme paranoia but fail to lock the door of their hotel suite?
And there should be a bounty on the head of the person who penned the line ``Steven was in over his head -- but so was the country.'' South African director Darrell Roodt (``Cry, the Beloved Country'') shares part of the blame for the inept dialogue and inexplicable plot gaps as co-writer. Shame, shame, shame.
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