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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

smith shines as the lead, finally.

Author: DeeDee Dodwell from Brooklyn, NY
28 August 2004

I've seen Smith in a bunch of movies usually in a small yet important role and on HBO's K Street. This rendering of his live play by Lee finally showcases his tremendous range. Smith is one of those enigmatic actors you see but can't quite place -- here he stands out magically: an enigma playing an enigma. Intense!

I liked the music, it was subtle, supportive and gave great context. Seeing the berets of the audience members reminds us the icon Newton has been. It seemed to be, to a certain extent, a memorial. The use of the archival footage was effective as was Smith's choreography.

As a writer, Smith incorporated many threads of Newton's life skillfully. One thing I didn't get from the film was a cardboard cutout of Newton in one way or the other. He was neither the oversimplified "angry black man" nor the "crazed junkie." Smith's rendering of the character had so much texture: he was vulnerable, strong, defiant, needy, angry, compulsive, confident, worldly and naive. Beautifully written, expertly done. Why Smith isn't playing more leads is a real mystery. I hope he does more work like this.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Never have my eyes been so opened

10/10
Author: arkman from Boston, Massachusettes
4 March 2002

The most enlightening work I have ever seen on the era. I now have insight into the revolution. Never before did I even come close to understanding the dynamics of the conflict or the leader of the Black Panthers. Every american must see this to begin to understand one of the most major problems this country has. I could not peel my eyes from the screen. Unbelievable performance by Roger Smith. Spike Lee has a knack for finding these incredibly draining performances and bringing them to you in a way that makes you run the gamet of emotion as well. This as well as FREAK! by John Leguizamo, both present two VERY different performances with VERY different meanings, both pull you through a full gauntlet of emotion. Incredible works.

Do the tighten-up Make it mellow

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Huey Newton back to life

9/10
Author: Johnny Yen from Salem, Mass
27 January 2005

Mr. Smith is amazing in portraying a man who was as brilliant as he was self destructive. He was the greatest mind in the Black Panther Party. Eldridge Cleaver notwithstanding. But he was also ultimately a sad victim of his own appetite: he took to crack like he took to revolutionary theory. Robert G. Smith becomes Huey Newton: the chain smoking hyper active monologue master. He also shows that Newton was not just some slogan spitting radical: he was funny as hell. And when he spoke of revolution, it was with brilliance, passion and clarity. But never was it boring. He could have you in hysterics and furious indignation at the same time. The great thing about Robert G. Smith's play is that he IS Huey Newton. His performance is mesmerizing. It is also woefully under rated. He brings to life a portrayal of Huey not as a martyr or a joke. He shows Huey as a real human being with real weaknesses. A genius junkie who at one point had much of white America in fear. Because Huey (and the Panthers) represented the antithesis of the MLK approach. To Huey, if they shoot at you, you shoot right back. Because dignity means standing up for what you believe, and human rights are inalienable rights. And should be protected (of attained) by any means necessary. Just see it. If you don't care for the politics, just appreciate a brilliant on target performance by Robert Guenveur Smith. He will bring Huey Newton into your living room.

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9 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Absolutely Riveting

10/10
Author: Ray Hathaway (berkhath@erols.com) from Philadelphia PA
15 February 2002

Roger G. Smith's Huey grabs you by the throat and won't let go. A complex one-man play -- flawlessly executed -- that would challenge the talents of the Theatre's best. Ninety minutes of stunning, nonstop diversity, conflict, and maddening contradiction that made Newton one of the most notorious yet enigmatic personalities of America's tumultuous 60's. Smith is surely the actor to watch in 2002 after a performance of such magnitude. Truly hypnotic.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

an absolutely beautiful and riveting rendition

10/10
Author: healnghanz from United States
5 January 2006

I have never seen a performance of such rich intensity in a one man show. The actor became Huey P Newton, brought back to life, became him, alive and living as him now, not as a history of him, but actually is him. You are challenged by him, and in his interaction with the audience, you see people being moved, no shocked out of their lethargy, and back to the essence of the dream that the black power movement represented. The black power movement that I was never allowed to see. Through the filtered media, in which we are spoon fed half a dozen stories a day that fit some kind of prescription for complacency and helpless outrage designed to keep us watching but doing nothing, Huey sucked on a Kool, chain smoking them as he spits out bullets of truth like tears and laughter. You feel the tragedy of his loss, which is our loss. And its an outrage that I never got to know him. He talks about the fact that the FBI felt that it wasn't the guns that were the main problem with the black panther party, but when they started to feed the poor, that was when they were really considered to be really dangerous. That had to be stopped. this show contains a thousand of these stories, that tickle and lacerate you, they revise your history. he slaps you in your face and you are so grateful to be awake and alive. when he cries you cry for him, for you and for everyone that missed out on what was trying to be accomplished. Martin Luther King wasn't the whole story of the civil rights movement. If it were, then how come his death was followed by the mass incarceration of black people in this country, and the crack epidemic, and the implosion of the inner city and its schools. Whoever shot Huey , it wasn't a drug dealer, no you know who it was. You know. The waited, they bided their time and they took him out. WE took him out because he was right, and when he became right and true it became intolerable. In our society, the truth needs to be destroyed because the truth ushers in change, and when change comes in, and the lights go on, the people making billions and trillions off of the misery of others will do anything to prevent that change from happening. Thats why we are looking to burn oil at the moment we understand global warming. Thats why we are pretending to create democracy in Iraq. We wont tackle the real issue of finding alternative energy. We don't have the courage to create full employment and the result is that we have given our destiny over to countries like china who makes deals to provide slave labor to transnational corporation's like walmart so that we lose all our jobs in exchange for cheaper and cheaper good. Our lives are disintegrating, and our politicians are as morally bankrupt as they are expert in manipulating our fears. We have replaced our factories with prisons. Higher efficiency means cheaper goods but meaningless service jobs at MacDonald's. We are in a state of perpetual undeclared war so that there is a rationale for watching everyone. We are turning, imperceptibly, into what the soviet union was. We live in gated communities that are not unlike versions of feudalistic states back in the middle ages. soon walled cities will be back with us. 40 million people have no insurance while doctors make half a million dollars a year. hospitals are going broke but they pay their executives half a million dollars a year. we spend 63 billion dollars to fix up new Orleans but the people are still living in the dark while halliburton fixes pipes, not people. the black homeless people from that disaster cant get jobs rebuilding their city because the clean up companies will only hire illegal aliens who are dirt cheap. Huey P Newton is not dead. He lives on. He lives on every time we get outraged at what is happening here in America. Wake up, the walls are crumbling around you. Huey! Huey!We are Huey! Remember what the old African said. You is We.

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Never have my eyes been so opened

10/10
Author: arkman from Boston, Massachusettes
4 March 2002

"A Huey P. Newton Story" is the most enlightening work I have ever seen on the era. I now have insight into the revolution. Never before did I even come close to understanding the dynamics of the conflict or the leader of the Black Panthers. Every american must see this to begin to understand one of the most major problems this country has. I could not peel my eyes from the screen. Unbelievable performance by Roger Smith. Spike Lee has a knack for finding these incredibly draining performances and bringing them to you in a way that makes you run the gamet of emotion as well. This as well as FREAK! by John Leguizamo, both present two VERY different performances with VERY different meanings, both pull you through a full gauntlet of emotion. Incredible works.

Do the tighten-up Make it mellow

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Roger Guenveur gives an excellent performance......

10/10
Author: (tg8)
10 December 2001

Roger Guenveur Smith deserves high praise for his uncanny resemblance to and phenomenal rendition of Huey P. Newton bringing to life a formidable figure in American history. It is mesmerizing to watch the complexity and brilliance of Newton being played out on screen.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Prepare for a ride!

10/10
Author: clmason33172 from PA, USA
24 October 2004

Roger G. Smith and Spike Lee again brilliantly collaborate for this one man show that brings to life the charismatic Huey P. Newton and gives a unique glimpse into this complex individual. Smith gives a high energy, high impact performance with his mannerisms and speech to pull the viewer into the mind of Newton, whom Smith eerily resembles.

This role is certainly a breakout. Smith captures the audience and never lets go, inviting his audience to participate in sing-a-longs and prompting response with successions of "huh?".

One wonders where Smith has been hiding his talent. I for one hope to see more performances from the spotlight from Smith.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

a film written and performed by one man, roger g smith, on the life and times of huey p newton

10/10
Author: bermadoo from oakland, ca
1 May 2005

this is an incredible piece. roger g. smith's writing and performance are mesmerizing, brilliant. i so admire the talent and intellect that produced this film. there are other one person performances i enjoy but this one tops them all.

furthermore, the film provides education and insight into our recent history and that makes it a must see for all American high schoolers. there are endless social and political references woven into what seems to be newton's extemporaneous thoughts, stream of consciousness, as they say. these could be mined for further study and investigation by students. i have certainly used it to teach my children about those times.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

smith is astounding as this revolutionary

10/10
Author: Adolphe_Menjou from United States
28 January 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

smith is an excellent actor, and this documentary actually showed this to me. Before when I saw him in miniature characters in Malcolm X, All About the Benjamins, Do the Right Thing, etc. he wasn't scene-stealing. But this Doc. could change your view on him. His timing, delivery, and emotion that he brings to the character actually makes you believe your seeing the real Huey Newton. Everything is well-performed, top notch acting, from the Notorious B.I.G allusions(such as "that boy was notorious" "he said this is the rhymes I'll do when I get big, he was small but figured he was gone' be big") to the dog tom allegory("that's a good boy Tom, get that...chicken...fetch'it, fetch'it) which was about uncle toms, stepinfetchit' "performances".

This a must on your my movies

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