Injustice begets a criminal. Kool is an artist without prospects, a black belt in karate, and in love with LaShawna, poised and college bound. One night she witnesses a stabbing and ...
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Lou Diamond Phillips,
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Jerry P. Jacobs
Injustice begets a criminal. Kool is an artist without prospects, a black belt in karate, and in love with LaShawna, poised and college bound. One night she witnesses a stabbing and discovers the victim is a cop as he dies in her arms. She's jailed for murder by the infamous Ramparts Division of the LAPD. Kool wants to prove her innocence, and Tully, the cynical detective in charge, ignores LaShawna's case but uses Kool to break up an incipient crime operation. She's in danger because the guilty parties fear that the officer talked before he died. While in jail awaiting a hearing and legal help, she's beaten to death by a rogue cop. Kool vows revenge: the Hot Boyz are born. Written by
You got a cigarette?
Man in Alley:
You got a cigarette?
Man in Alley:
[Goes to hand him cigarette, but Tully shoots him]
What? You killed him!
Cigarettes will fuckin' kill ya.
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I love to take time and effort to praise movies, but sometimes I just can't help having to write a negative review about a bad film, just to get it out of my system. Even if I've seen it nearly 20 years ago. Hot Boyz was probably one of those films that came in the slipstream of a long string of successful ghetto movies, started by Boyz 'n the Hood and Menace II Society. And boy does it show that inspiration was getting thin by that time. This movie is a testament to the lack of talent of almost everyone who was involved (save for some exceptions).
The 90s and 00s were also the age where so many movies were released that we got a direct-to-video/dvd segment as a result, and it's not hard to see that this movie ended up somewhere on the bottom shelf of the video store. Musicians who make the jump to movies are very often cast solely on their instant recognizability, and rappers are often bumped to actors to give the movie a bit of street cred and realism. Unfortunately, the biggest issue with that is that most of them can't act. If it's just one bad actor within an ensemble cast of fine thespians, you'll get away with it, but when an entire movie is written, directed and performed by rappers, it's not hard to see what can go wrong. Don't get me wrong, there are countless movies made on the streets by non-professional casts and crews that turned out raw, gritty and great, but Hot Boyz clearly wasn't one of them. In fact, the only reason why I remember this B-movie-in-the-worst-meaning-of-the-word at all is because of how horribly bad it was.
The story itself is pretty basic: a young man from the ghetto wants to become a rapper, but the promise of easy money lures him into a life of crime, despite the best efforts of the people around him. The biggest basic problem is that the script is badly written, and is full of clichés and hammy dialogue. The drama is unintentionally funny, and some scenes are so cringe-worthy that it is hard to discern what is worse: the writing, acting or direction. Silkk Tha Shocker as the leading man is sadly the worst actor of the cast with his monotonous and non-charismatic performance, although the rest of the actors seem to do their best to keep up. Samuel L. Jackson once said that he doesn't want to appear in movies with rappers solely to lend them some credibility, but it seems like this is exactly the reason for Gary Busey and C. Thomas Howell to be in this movie. Jeff Speakman has a brief role as a wise master, probably because he enjoyed some B-movie success in those days, and it enabled the makers to feature some martial arts for no reason. Snoop Dogg is also in it, but I fortunately don't remember him as particularly bad (his laid-back attitude is one of the reasons why I can never get mad at him).
If there is one positive thing to mention, it would be the crazy car chase that the movie opens with. It looks pretty spectacular, but it also makes it painfully clear that the most talented people working on this movie were part of the stunt team. The other thing that comes to mind is the comic relief from one of the supporting characters who has a stammer, which is of course a cheap trick to score some giggles, but at times, it worked. But not nearly enough.
Normally I'd be closing by saying that this movie should be avoided at all costs, but it seems there is no need. Time hasn't been kind to this unmemorable piece of amateur filming, and it has probably never reached a large audience anyway. It now remains merely as a reminder for me that there are much better movies in this genre. Come to think of it, Boyz n The Hood is on Netflix. I've been avoiding that movie for far too long, and it's about time that I gave it a shot (edit: and it was great).
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