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|Index||27 reviews in total|
This movie was entertaining, but the acting was horrible. I expected way better work from John Singleton and from actors like Wanda DeJesus, Dania Ramirez and Rick Gonzalez. There were so many holes in the plot that dramatic scenes were turned into slapstick comedy. There were also many anachronisms (a bodega scene in 1985 featured candy and snacks with 2007 packaging) and continuity errors (Wilson's little brother bruised his face after falling off his bike; the bruise was healed later that day. Wilson grew up speaking English, but managed to speak fluent Spanish once he arrived in Puerto Rico). I did like the music in the film, though, and I'll probably buy the soundtrack. I think I understand the vision that John Singleton may have had in making this film, but unfortunately he used a formula that was successful in the '90s and it doesn't work for Illegal Tender.
21 years after her husband, a drug dealer looking to get out, is gunned
down, a woman finds that her husband's cronies are still looking to
kill her and her family. Her son at first doesn't believe her, but when
he's forced to defend the family home against attackers plan are made
to turn the tables on the attackers.
Good little action thriller from John Singleton. I don't know what else to say but this is an old school style crime thriller that has characters you care about and real tension that comes from the characters and situations. Definitely worth a look at some point.
6.5 out of 10
What a little jewel of a film, and to think that I almost missed it because of negative comments by some viewers and critics. I enjoyed it from beginning to end. You have to take it for what it is and just enjoy the ride. It is an action-packed thriller, well acted and never boring. Although John Singleton was only a producer of this film (it was directed by Franc Reyes). If you enjoy Mr. Singleton's type of films, you will certainly enjoy this one. I highly recommend it for EVERYONE, but especially for those that understand Spanish. Reggaeton star Tego Calderon, acting on his first film, was fantastic, as well as the performances of Rick Gonzalez, Dania Ramirez and the wonderful Wanda De Jesus. It was a hard-hitting film, with gripping action and suspense, with a great music soundtrack. Do yourself a favor, rent the DVD and see for yourself. You won't regret it.
I think you need to see the movie again because it is not about Mexicans (you wish) the movie is about Puerto Ricans, I enjoyed watching the movie it showed how true family power can overcome anything, how a mother is willing to do anything die or kill for her family safety. It's about pride,honor and values. Wilson De Leon, Jr. is an exceptional college student with an adoring girlfriend, doting mother and a future full of promise. He has never wanted for anything, and he has never been forced to stand his ground. But when ghosts from his mother's past come back to haunt his present, he must defend his family and quickly turn into the strong man his father prayed he'd become.
Director Franc. Reyes gives crime movie junkies the powerful drama
Illegal Tender. It didn't exactly grab me getting sluggish at times
with nothing happening on screen except talking heads. After the
gangsters who killed his father come to settle a score, a teenage boy
and his mother turn the tables on the killers - one Latino family's
quest for honor and revenge as the hunted become the hunters. Wilson
DeLeon, Jr. is an exceptional college student with an adoring
girlfriend, doting mother and a future full of promise. He has never
wanted for anything, and he has never been forced to stand his ground.
But when ghosts from his mother's past come back to haunt his present,
he must defend his family ... and quickly turn into the strong man his
father prayed he'd become.
Nothing could stop Wilson's mother, Millie, from protecting her two boys. Forced to flee her home after gangsters killed her husband, she made an oath to give her children only the best. But all that changes when an enemy from the past catches up with them. It's finally time to take action - and now, they're done running. Weapons at the ready, Wilson, Jr. and Millie prepare for a final showdown with the murderer who robbed him of a father and her of a husband. Now, in a battle fueled by family ties and blood feuds, it will become very clear what happens when anyone tries to come between this son and his mother.
I was moved by the connection between the mother and sons. Different relationship than the standard father son bond. I would recommend this DVD to rent or buy.
This is not a John Singleton movie as the person above me stated. And the reason it was given so little attention is because even though the cast of what most would consider unknowns is strong, it is just a generic John Singleton style movie replacing African Americans with Hispanics. If this film had been made 15 years ago it might garner more attention, but with so many generic life in the hood films made over the last two decades it is easy for something like this to slip under the radar. Good acting is not enough to carry a movie, there has to be a strong plot and character development. In fact, I'm surprised more Latinos were not upset by what seemed to me a very stereotypical look at life in a ethnocentric neighborhood. Personally, I feel a move like "Wassup Rockers" did a better and more entertaining job of looking at diversity issues, crime, bigotry, and even inter-cultural separation. Yes, its nice to see more Hispanic and Latinos in films. But if this is the roles they are getting no progress has been made and they got a long way to go.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Franc. Reyes writes & directs, produced by John Singleton.
The two men craft an excellent "urban thriller" focusing on Latino protagonists.
The film starts off with a flashback prologue, where a pregnant young woman is ready to tell her husband about the legal investments she's made with the money he has made from working for a drug dealer. That same night, her husband is called away to meet his boss to make a 'final payment' and announce his retirement-- however, his boss has other plans-- and he is brutally murdered-- the hit squad also comes after the young woman, but she escapes with help from friends.
20 years later, Rick Gonzalez ("Biker Boyz", "Coach Carter") plays Wilson De Leon Jr., a college student who is a whiz at mathematics. Wanda De Jesus is Millie, Wilson's mother, who is somewhat estranged from Wilson as of late; Wilson dearly loves his mom, and his 10 year old half-brother. But he's extremely skeptical about his mom's dating life, and it's driving a wedge between them. Besides his little bro, the other comfort in Wilson's life is his girlfriend Ana (Dania Ramirez).
Apparently, even the Witness Protection Program turned Ana down, and she was forced to move from place to place throughout Wilson Jr.'s youth; the money from the investments have provided them with financial comfort, but Ana is always looking over her shoulder-- the reason why comes to a head when a chance encounter with an old neighborhood acquaintance marks her, and a new team of assassins are sent to kill her-- and whoever else is in her family.
Wilson Jr. clumsily fends them off, and then confronts his mother, who grudgingly tells him the truth about their circumstances. This sets into motion a chain of events where Wilson begins to abandon his life of privilege and try to survive in the ghettos of Puerto Rico, where the Mob boss now lives. Wilson's intention is to broker a truce, but this just makes things worse, leading to several violent further confrontations. There is a surprise twist as to the motivations of the gangster, which makes the climax more stunning.
Reggaeton performer Tego Calderón plays Choco, an enforcer for the gangster that is looking for Wilson's family.
This is an excellent film for those who appreciate crime drama and urban films with an ethnic cast. The filming of Puerto Rico looks wonderful, showcasing the night life there.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I applaud this film for portraying the Puerto Rican heritage and
culture with respect. The producer is trying to bring it into more
prominence in the film industry. The family values portrayed by the
actors are not typical, but they are commendable nevertheless.
The actors are credible in their roles as mother, son, and girlfriend. The supporting cast is not quite so good. Dialog is stilted and delivered like a stage production.
It moves along pretty well and the back story is well done, although it is not clear why the money is such an issue until very late in the film, and then it's clear that the money is NOT the issue.
The problem I have with the film is the incredible plot leaps of faith where a hostile faction (MOM) is able to penetrate a heavily guarded establishment without being discovered and then ice the villain and escape easily.
Mothers skill with the pistols is absolutely over the top and not credible.
The 'assassins' are totally incompetent and couldn't hit the broadside of a barn when standing next to it.
Those things bothered me, but not enough to miss the true point of this film: a mother's love is the fiercest love of all. She will do anything to protect her children.
I was actually surprised that this was fairly good. It wasn't "good" or
"excellent", but it is OK enough to enjoy at some points. Not only
that, but it has a storyline that has a nice touch near the end.
The film begins in mid 80s New York, with Wilson and several drug gangsters. He has a knocked up woman and money set aside. But then things get tricky and he winds up dead. The viewer is left wondering "why?".
Thats when it goes to 2007. The child being carried is grown up, has his own woman, but he doesn't know who his father was. Events turn the college student into a man chasing down the past. Eventually things get settled in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. There young Wilson Jr. discovers his father's secret past and why things are they way they are.
Without ruining why, the plot twist at the end explains one scene that didn't make sense at the beginning. So that was well done. However, some of the characters didn't exactly fit the bill, especially in the scenes outside New York and Connecticut. Plus, the music was all wrong for much of the film.
Some people question "Ana"(Daina Ramirez), the girlfriend of Wilson Jr. She stays with him through the film, but she is seemingly the stereotypical 'damsel'. However, there are many women like that who are soft hearted so I don't have doubts about the character.
With everything said, I think the film is moderately good. So have a look and try it out. Its nothing special, but its good enough to draw your attention. "B-"
Twenty one years ago (1985), Millie, married to Wilson Deleon a drug
dealer and pregnant with her first child seems to be living a pretty
stable life in the Bronx. Well one night, things take a deadly turn
when Wilson is gunned down in the company of top boss man Javier
Cordero. Millie soon finds out the tragic news on the same night of
giving birth and is eventually warned about her future date with death
with the same thugs who killed her husband.
Twenty one years later, Millie and Wilson are living a quiet life in Connecticut. Pretty soon, the bad guys catch up to them once again and Millie and Wilson begin to fear for their lives. After learning the truth about his father, Wilson goes to Puerto Rico to meet with and settle the score with Javier Cordero. Cliché as it may seem, the movie is good for what it is. Its not Oscar material but its still easy to watch. Wanda DeJesus and Rick Gonzalez make a dynamic duo as mother and son. DeJesus is sexy in her role and gives a kick ass performance. Rick Gonzalez is fairly decent as the son who wants to be nothing like his father, all while delivering a bold and solid performance in his fight to end the feud with Cordero. The beautiful Dania Ramirez is a great addition as the scared, but sympathetic and loving girlfriend to Wilson. Over all, good film, simple dialogue, cool action. This is definitely a good film to watch on a rainy day.
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