Brandon is a 15 year old whose dream is a pair of fresh Air Jordans. Soon after he gets his hands on them, they're stolen by a local hood, causing Brandon and his two friends to go on a dangerous mission through Oakland to retrieve them.
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Fifteen-year-old Brandon longs for a pair of the freshest sneakers that money can buy, assuming that merely having them on his feet will help him escape the reality of being poor, neglected by the opposite sex and picked on by everyone - even his best friends. Working hard to get them, he soon finds that the titular shoes have instead made him a target after they are promptly snatched by Flaco, a local hood. Brandon goes on a mission to retrieve his stolen sneakers.
All of that over some sneakers. Seriously, there are people like this out there.
This film was a horror movie for me. It gave me nightmares, and it wasn't even scary, not in the traditional sense anyway. Yet, everything about the film was horrific for me. The language, the music, the neighborhoods, the culture; I could not relate, understand or accept absolutely anything that any of these children were referring to, and I felt like a better human being because of it. This movie shows how depraved certain parts of our society are, and how they exalt people and objects over the actual things that matter, like a career, a family, and not having a prison record. It is a glimpse into a depraved and diseased world that has no redeemable qualities, and would rather stew in its own fetid juices than actually rise above it. Let me walk you through it; A kid with crazy hair is the neighborhood punching bad. He is poor, and does not have money for the things that apparently make people popular, ie. sneakers. He decides that, in order for people to notice him, he should own a pair of sneakers (some Nike whatever's that are probably made for less than $10 in Vietnam). He saves up money to buy said sneakers, and suddenly, his friends are treating him better, girls are noticing him, and he is actually "somebody". Until the sneakers are stolen from his very feet. Feeling like a big man, he decides to get his sneakers back, and meets some of the most violent, belligerent degenerates the West Coast has to offer. Some people die, other's are seriously hurt, and a lot of blood is shed. All over a pair of ugly sneakers.
In a nutshell, this is what the movie is about. Along the way, it glorifies the 'hood, gang violence, drugs, alcohol, under-aged sex, bullying, abuse, absentee parenthood, convicts, potheads; essentially, the worst that society has to offer. It makes it all seem like these people were having fun being social deviants, and this is what made me lose sleep. It's like when you grow up seeing the reality of such of a lifestyle, and how it offers nothing but heartache to everyone involved, why would you make a movie out of it? Why would you show the world the depravity that is ever present in the 'hood? California in 2016 looks like Brooklyn in 1983, and that is not freaking compliment. It looks like a cesspool, where the worst of the worst congregate to serve no purpose to society as a whole, and are simply taking up space and air.
The film itself is competently directed, the acting ranges from mediocre to passable (even thought everyone was pretty much playing a version of themselves or someone they know), and the Sci-fi angle was interesting and unique. But none of it could equate to a wholly worthwhile film. To me, movies like this are scarier than any Exorcist, Paranormal Activity, or Descent. These people are real, they live among us, and it's the reason out society can never advance to greatness. I will never understand the mentality of those that come from these areas, and my mother should receive an award for keeping me out of that life. The sad part is, these people do not see the error in their ways, make no effort to make their lives better legitimately, and would rather earn respect through fear and intimidation than actually doing anything positive for themselves, their friends or their family. If that doesn't sound like a horrifying premise to a film for you,consider yourself a lost cause. I shudder to think of the people that see themselves in this movie and can relate to what was transpiring. I do not envy your life, or your disposition. Now excuse me while I go curl up in a corner until the horrifying images are scrubbed from my psyche.
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