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Boyz N the Hood

More an effective statement than a well-made movie. Too much is clumsy and contrived for it to be a truly great film, like the way a crowd conveniently gathers in the middle of a political sermon on the struggle of the urban American black. The music, setups and pace all seem to stumble more than once throughout the movie, and you wonder if you're just looking at an alternative Brady Bunch.

Three young boys grow up in south central LA's violent, low-rent black suburbs, eventually becoming men, Dough Boy (Ice Cube), Tre (Gooding Jr) and Ricky (Chestnut). As they wend their way through life, Tre's wise father (Fishburne) tries to bring his son up right, Ricky has a family and starts to realise he has opportunities and Dough Boy turns into the kind of nigger white America hates and fears, hanging out on porches with his homies, packing heat and rolling bitches.

The movie really finds it voice and impact in the last half hour when Ricky is cut down because of a simple street feud. The final sequence of him and Dough Boy talking sums up the entire state of being for young, poor urban blacks - while Tre's father has been the opposing voice throughout the movie.

For a rapper, Ice Cube brings genuine heart to his role, even though it takes awhile to come out without sounding forced. In his final realisation, that he isn't a tough homie for smoking his enemies but a thug and a murderer who didn't bring his brother back, he shines. And while he does a good job, it's very hard to watch Cuba Gooding Jr playing a down ghetto brother when all you can think of is his big goofy grin out of the likes of Snow Dogs and Rat Race.

It's also sad to have seen John Singleton get swallowed up by the white, protestant/Jewish studio system so they can employ some black cool to sell crap like 2 Fast 2 Furious to white kids. An important statement, not altogether well made.

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