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Camjackers (2006)

 -  Comedy  -  26 March 2006 (USA)
4.2
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Ratings: 4.2/10 from 149 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

" It's cool man. We've got black friends..." Two rich, clueless film school grads ("the Filmfakers") are shooting a modernized "ghetto" interpretation of an ancient Greek play on the mean ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
2Mex
Aceyalone
Darkzeied ...
Camjacker #3
...
Sista Strada Cast
Jeremy Fels ...
Whack Filmmaker #2
...
Starlet (as Brittany Paige)
Cody Lucich ...
Camjacker #2
Elza Minor ...
Sista Strada Cast
...
Detective Richard Miles (as Michael Robert Nyman)
Phoenix Orion ...
Camjacker #1
...
Whack Filmmaker #1
...
Sista Strada Cast
Karla Zelaya ...
Entertainment reporter
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Storyline

" It's cool man. We've got black friends..." Two rich, clueless film school grads ("the Filmfakers") are shooting a modernized "ghetto" interpretation of an ancient Greek play on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Their equipment is "borrowed" by three street youths ("the Camjackers"), who shoot a compelling documentary on underground hip hop. The Filmfakers rip off the Camjackers' film and rise to fame and fortune. The Camjackers see their stolen work on TV and seek revenge. Written by Julian Dahl

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Can't make a film? Just steal one! Class war, revenge and the race divide collide in this funny post-reality hip hop mind trip.

Genres:

Comedy

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Release Date:

26 March 2006 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
def a spoiler. read really fast!
5 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I saw this at the Syracuse International Film Festival. I have a feeling that once the critics who get paid to do this stuff finish whining stuff like, "The story is weak," "Audiences won't have enough patience for this," "The characters aren't very riveting—" "VISUALLY it's great, BUT…" i think the people who "get it" will tell you how contextually necessary this film is.

Many viewers probably won't be accustomed to this style of editing or directing. The camera gets dropped, spun around, zooms in on some pretty random things (like a cactus, broken jar of cherries), the actors talk (shout) all at the same time while waiting to get high—and mainstream film (plus (un)reality TV, a microwave society, and a culture in denial) have lent us no patience to endure the strenuous labor of reality editing. This is one of the first things people will just have to get over.

Besides, every MC in this pic is insane. So you'll forget everything I just said by the time the next beat drops. They are indeed true representations of what real hip-hop is. That 10-year-old kid won my heart. His rhyme, for me, is the crux of the conflict in this film.

The white "film-fakers" have set out to produce a film that sets up gang-warfare as the essence of "ghetto" life, the central issue of hip-hop, and from this, the cipher that deciphers Black identity. All one needs is a pimp, a couple of hoes, and a thug and the Black American's existence—all 400+ years of it—has been articulated, popularized, and labeled "ghetto cool". Unfortunately, this is the widely-held perception of too many Americans—not only White, but Black, Brown, and Yellow, too. While some can jock the style from a distance, others die and die again trying to fulfill their purpose in one of three, simple life callings. THIS IS WHY EVERYONE MUST SEE CAMJACKERS.

Hip-hop culture is so much more beautiful, varied and complex than this and Camjackers drives this truth home. Some of the political, economic and social threads of the struggle hip-hop culture rests upon are alluded to in the film. Towards the beginning, the Dahls introduce you to my man who can't walk. Spitting in Spanish, he shows the scar running down his tattooed stomach—a brief ode to the violence in the hood. When Phoenix is getting tagged by the police in the tradition of Rodney King, his reaction is an open protest of police brutality. When a homeless Brotha on the street dissects—in blues and rhyme—the hypocrisy in calling him "Brother", and when Medusa tells you how they chopped down trees just for the ghetto bird hovering in her hood—we're seeing the forces at work that fuel hip-hop culture—a culture that the Jeremys and Taos of the world think they can imitate in a "Sista' Strada".

So I guess my only real critic-ism is this: Now that viewers have "survived the hood", tell the part about why this is such compelling stuff.

Unfortunately, the U.S. third-world isn't a reality that everyone in the U.S. believes to be true. Even in a post-Katrina world people translate the images into indolence and think the "rage" behind the culture is unfounded.

While Camjackers is unforgiving in its depictions of life in the ghetto (no 40-oz. or blunt is spared) the film operates on the assumption that people accept, let alone understand the broader political machinations guiding these interpretations.

We may not be given the chance to fully identify with the Camjackers. At the film's conclusion, we know people exploit the hood for personal profit, and scapegoat the hood for suburbia's sins, but how is it that this system of manipulation manages to stay intact?

Camjackers II can cover that ground, though: how the "guh'ment" sold crack to the poor; welfare dependency is (un)intentional; how they're waiting for my 10-year-old rhyme-prodigy to flunk fifth grade so they can add another cell to the maximum security prison they want to build in your backyard. Then again, who has time for conspiracy theories? Right? ;-) (Sorry. I'm "sensational".)


8 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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