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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.
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.
*** 1/2 out of **** stars.
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.
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.
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.
Tupac shows his crazy side and to be fair he did a decent job of showing the tormented evil within.
The soundtrack still stands up, the Bass in the Eric B and Rakim track still gives me goosebumps.
All in all I think old sod's like me that grew up in the golden era of hop hop will use this to reminisce, and young kids obsessed with lil wayne, Tyga and whatever rubbish passes as hip hop today will think its daft.
Worth a watch, just.
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.
He is the antagonist of this story of four high school friends (who rarely if ever go) who go for Bishop's plan to get "the Juice" - to do a Big Bad Thing and get some money but most of all to get respect. But is he a true villain? Maybe, to some. For me, every bad decision hes made leads him to what he does and who he is (and though its a subtly done point, and powerfully so, he doesn't have a father as he's there but tuned out for reasons left ambiguous).
Hes not the protagonist though, and I was mistaken thinking going in he was, that's Omar Epps's Q, the guy who wants to find a way out of Harlem and to make it it's through music. Epps in his way is very good too, and in his way he has to be the one who is about as close to an "everyman" as one can find who is young and in a place like Harlem at that time. There's two others in this self-professed "crew" that Bishop has, but its clear since they've been together since kids, they don't easily take anyone's s*** much less each others... Until a gun comes into play.
This is a terrific and vividly realized debut for Ernest Dickerson, who mostly shows restraint as a former cinematographer (notably for Spike Lee on his first six films) in doing anything exactly 'flashy' or shots that might call attention to themselves (the interrogation with the cops may be an exception but a good one, as it's meant to be shown fully that the pressure is ON). But Dickerson makes the correct visual choices here to show this world as is, with a sort of muted/naturalistic color palette and editing that really POPS when it calls for it (ie any of the scenes where Q DJs or any time there's a chase, especially near the end).
But its most of all in his script that this sticks out as memorable. There are a couple of types here and there as far as the minor characters (Samuel L Jackson plays one but brings it full life anyway for the 5 minutes hes on), but all the same we have a young game cast that's given the kind of material that enlivens melodrama with a good deal of humor early on (some still lands, especially with an audience, some doesn't) by being as real as possible. It's also how Harlem itself looks and feels - we see this in montage over the credits - so that it cant be mistaken about how raw and rough life is for these guys.
And yeah, Im not sure if I necessarily buy that young guys in the early 90s sit around and get excited about White Heat it still works as a metaphor anyway.
I believe Dickerson did a great job of directing this film he has a clear way of organizing the film. He organizes this way so that the audience can get a complete feeling of how the African American boys in 1992 were feeling. I also feel like the scenery helped it even more because it is placed directly in the heart of Harlem. Having this horrific scenery gives it more of an inner city feel. Instead of four suburban teenagers in the suburbs, the use of the four African American male actors helps me to understand and connect it with people I know. The movie being so reliable is what I believe makes the film incredible, it seems like it is a story that has happened to me and I'm just retelling it. Overall Juice is a movie that will draw every person between the ages 16-25. It has enough thrill and scenes to relate to this wide range of viewers. It can also be a motivation to teens all across the world. I believe it can be a motivation because it gives obvious reasons for why teen should not follow peer pressure, intake drugs, drink, and always follows their dreams. I mention teens all across the world because although many people believe inner city kids are the only once who face violence, in reality, all teens do. The violence every teen faces is different and comes in different shapes, forms, and height but overall it is obstacles everyone must cross. Juice has a great way of portraying the best way and the worst way of overcoming your individual obstacles. Ernest Dickerson should be extremely proud of this incredible film he directed. He provided entertainment while teaching life lessons that everyone could use like how to love, commitment, honesty, and friendship. If I had to rate this movie I would give it a 8 of 10 simply because its intriguing but could give a little more back story.
Tupac shows his acting chops and some real power with potential. Omar Epps shows his presence by providing a stable center for the movie. There are other newcomers but these two are the standouts. This is a small scale epic tragedy of angry young man in a difficult world. Their troubles are almost inevitable.