Menace II Society (1993)


Movie Review

Directed by: Allen Hughes and Albert Hughes

Starring: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, Jada Pinkett, and Samuel L. Jackson

Like any great black crime film, Menace II Society takes place in the ghetto of Los Angeles.  Eighteen-year-old Caine (Tyrin Turner) lives with his grandparents (Marilyn Coleman & Arnold Johnson) and lives a life of crime despite their best efforts.  The boy has no prospects for a future, he associates with people like O-Dog (Larenz Tate), a fugitive of the law, and he runs from the responsibilities of fatherhood after impregnating a young girl named Ilena.  Despite all these major character flaws, there is some semblance of hope for Caine.  His friend and one-time lover Ronnie (Jada Pinkett) is moving to Atlanta for a job and has asked him to come with her to escape the ghetto life.  However, escaping the life of the streets proves difficult for Caine.

Allen and Albert Hughes’ directorial debut in Menace II Society was certainly a gritty one.  They give a vision of ghetto life that is anything but glorified.  They show the countless laws that are broken and the many lives that are wasted.  The Hughes brothers give a bleak and disconcerting outlook on life in the ghetto in this powerful film.  The unnerving message of this urban flick still rings true today.  Menace II Society gets a sober rating.



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