5.7/10
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Chi-Raq (2015)

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A modern day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago, Illinois.

Director:

Spike Lee
5 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nick Cannon ... Chi-Raq
Teyonah Parris ... Lysistrata
Wesley Snipes ... Cyclops
Angela Bassett ... Miss Helen
Samuel L. Jackson ... Dolmedes
John Cusack ... Father Mike Corridan
Jennifer Hudson ... Irene
David Patrick Kelly ... General King Kong
D.B. Sweeney ... Mayor McCloud
Dave Chappelle ... Morris
Steve Harris ... Old Duke
Harry Lennix ... Commissioner Blades
Tony Fitzpatrick ... Chief Riptide
Anya Engel-Adams ... Rasheeda
Ebony Joy ... Marcy
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Storyline

After the shooting death of a child hit by a stray bullet, a group of women led by Lysistrata organize against the on-going violence in Chicago's Southside creating a movement that challenges the nature of race, sex and violence in America and around the world.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

No peace, no piece. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, nudity, language, some violence and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 December 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Chi-Raq See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,198,356, 6 December 2015

Gross USA:

$2,647,377
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though he is not mentioned nor credited, Vic Mensa had a cameo in the movie as the rapper rapping along with Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon) at the beginning of the movie. Vic Mensa is a rapper from Chicago, where the movie takes place. See more »

Goofs

At the end when the peace signing ceremony is being conducted all the parties involved are on one side of the signing table which is in front of them between the seats of the amphitheater with all the visible seats empty. See more »

Quotes

Dolmedes: Lysistrata had them all take a solemn oath: "Stop the murder madness or there will be no more po." That's right, you get none.
See more »

Connections

Spoofs Dolemite (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

Desperately
Written by Sam Dew and Dave Sitek (as David Andrew Sitek)
Published by By The Chi Publishing/Sony/ATV Sonata (SESAC) and BMG Monarch/Songs of Big Deal/Federal Prism (ASCAP)
Performed by Sam Dew
Produced by Dave Sitek (as David Andrew Sitek)
Used courtesy of RCA Records, by arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chi-Raq is a great Spike Lee film. Not necessarily a great film.
10 December 2015 | by nileda1987See all my reviews

I give it a C+ or ** (2 stars) PROS: Strong acting performances of the leads and supporting cast. All worked well in flow with cameos of celebs sprinkled throughout the film. Compelling visual cinematography that captures the tone of the Windy City. Well-thought out production design of scene selections that provided a depth of realism to the narrative. The colors of the scenes and costume design worked well in the symbolism of the divisiveness of gang violence and the battle-of-the-sexes theme that propped up the film's storyline. The use of rap lyrics in communicating Chicago's plight and connecting the film's characters. This film was vintage Spike Lee from his slow dolly shots, multiple-person narrative, symbolic cinematography in vintage snap shots of the community, pretentiously didactic and preachy in dialogue, usage of colors in visual storytelling (Spike Lee is masterful with colors), the assemblage of music overtones, and film storytelling covering various angles on a variety of social issues. As an unapologetic artist Spike Lee proves to out-stand himself an auteur in his own right--staying on top of the plight of Black America and delivering a film revelation one after the other prompting conversation and new appeal for solutions. Everything short of an activist-charge, Spike Lee has been rather consistent in his pursuit of pressing current affairs in his filmography. Like him or not he remains relevant and cannot be ignored. Chi-Raq is a great Spike Lee film. Not necessarily a great film.

CONS: Weak film story delivery in dialogue, character-build, and theme. This film misfired at all elements to a given genre. It worked poorly as a comedy, worked poorly as a satire, and worked poorly as a drama. Thus, the film worked poorly as multi-varied genre of the three. This polemic of a film was carried by an uneven, sporadic plot that was crowded with characters and subplots making for a perplexing flow throughout the movie. The use of rhyming dialogue that sporadically popped up in the script seemed a bad blend with the attempt to parallel the Lysistrata play, the classic Greek comedy by Aristophanes. Unless, of course, Lee was attempting for a parody of the timeless, ancient Athenian play. The insertion of Samuel L. Jackson's character as a well-dressed funnyman to set the stage of the next scene and add perspective of a universal moralism was a consistent miss. At times I felt like I was watching a Capital One® commercial. With slapstick humor that came off mostly bland with a few highlighted moments, comedy continues to prove to be Spike Lee's weakest working genre in filmmaking--not to confuse the brilliancy of timed humor in his earlier works. The battle-of-sex prologue that set the tone of the film which later extended in a jumble of social issues only to get back to it was executed rather shoddy and distractedly.

ADD'L NOTES: The attempt at provoking his audience as an element in entertainment is vintage Spike Lee. Lee's style is to take his audience on an emotional roller coaster in an entertaining fashion. His tendency to probe at the core of human feelings works well for him in embellishment and performance in visual-spatial form. My real issue with Chi-Raq were essential two things--one, the lack of feel for the city--Chicago was one Lee never fully grasped, and two, a misdirection and misappropriation of his audience--who exactly was this film made for and why?


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