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Menace II Society
Year:
1993
Country:
USA
Genre:
Crime, Drama, Thriller
IMDB rating:
7.5
Director:
Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes, The Hughes Brothers
Tyrin Turner as Caine
Larenz Tate as O-Dog
June Kyoto Lu as Grocery Store Woman (as June Kyoko Lu)
Toshi Toda as Grocery Store Man
Samuel L. Jackson as Tat Lawson
Brandon Hammond as Five Year Old Caine
Glenn Plummer as Pernell
Khandi Alexander as Karen Lawson
Eugene Lee as Man #1
James Pickens Jr. as Man #2 (as James Pickins Jr.)
Nancy Cheryll Davis as Teacher (as Nancy Cheryl Davis)
Storyline: This urban nightmare chronicles several days in the life of Caine Lawson, following his high-school graduation, as he attempts to escape his violent existence in the projects of Watts, CA.
Type Resolution File Size Codec Bitrate Format
720p 1280x720 px 4476 Mb h264 6413 Kbps mkv Download
DVD-rip 512x384 px 700 Mb mpeg4 852 Kbps avi Download
iPhone 320x240 px 209 Mb h264 301 Kbps mp4 Download
Reviews
This is what is!
I saw this film the weekend it opened. At the time I was 33, a white male living in NYC. When I went to the theater, I noticed that most of the audience was Black and in their late teens. For some reason, they felt that this was a good "date" movie. When the movie began, and the Korean Grocery scene was presented, the audience went wild with comments like "Yeah, Yeah, Kill them!!". I must say I got a little nervous. But, as the movie progressed, I got absorbed in it. I liked Cane and I even liked O'Dog. When the movie ended, I started crying. I was embarassed. Then I noticed that the Black teenage guys around me were crying too. I applaud the Hughes Brothers for making a movie that is able to connect with so many people. I still cry while watching it on video. "Do you care if you live or die?"
2004-08-17
How can anyone be stupid enough to not give this a 10?
This movie has to be the most realistic ghetto movie I've ever seen.. the profanity is there because that is really the way people talk. Boyz In the Hood had a sappy plot and and a sappy storyline in it that was full of preaching and unrealism. the main character always makes the right choices and comes out good and everything. Menace is much better because while the main character does have some good in him, he cannot break free from the harsh society he and his parents were trapped in. The whole movie hits you and scares the hell out of you because it is truthful and this is actually what people do. If anybody out there is enough of a moron to give this movie a bad review, I'd like to know why.
1999-04-12
The Best Hood Film I Have Ever Seen
If you like action dramas, this is definitely the film for you. I have watched this film several times since I bought it, and I don't do that with many movies. It shows what it is really like for teenagers growing up in the ghetto.

The movie takes place in LA, where Caine, O-Dog, Sharif, and the rest of they're crew trying to grow up in the Ghetto without getting shot. It deals with everything that is happening in the world with teens in the hood: Pregnancy, Drive-by's, Drug Addiction, and many other things.

What I like about this film, is that it is exactly what it's supposed to be. It does not show people getting shot every 2 minutes and showing the kids smoking weed in every scene, because it's not like that in real life. This shows exactly how everything goes down. Nothing more, nothing less.

Check it out. You can get it at Wal-Mart for a good price.
2004-10-09
Great Action Movie
Menace 2 Society is a brilliant movie based in New York. Its about the life of street thugs played by Tyrin Turner and Larenz Tate. It is the directional debut of the Hughes brothers, who did a Great Job. Tyrin Turner delivers a Good performance as the drug dealer. Larenz Tate is an underrated Superb actor playing the part of O Dog. This is one of his Greatest Performance, watch him in Dead Presidents. Jada Pinkett is very sexy, but in this film she looks a little less sexy then usual. The rest of the supporting cast give a decent role. Bill Duke and Samuel L Jackson are in small roles in this movie. The movie has some great Action scenes and is one of the Best Black Crime (Hood) Movies ever made. Alongside Boyz N the hood, Menace 2 Society is a Fantastic film.
2006-06-12
The hard cold truth about the ghetto
I wasn't so sure about seeing Menace II Society, see, my problem is that I think that the kids who dress and act like "gangstas" always complain about how they are treated and how they are always going to be treated when it seems like they don't even try to improve themselves. Menace II Society gave me a different look to that thought and how scary it must be to be there, to survive making it to 18 years old is just a huge accomplishment. Still, it frightens me how much we haven't changed, how these kids still kill each other like there's a war on. It breaks my heart that if one feels insulted they just go in a car and shoot somebody like a coward and runs off.

Caine has had a very rough life, he grew up in the ghetto with his drug addicted parents and when his father and mother dies, he lives with his grandparents. But that doesn't stop him from leading a life of stealing, sex, drugs, and murder. In a life where some are proud of the way they act and kill, he's the minority when he thinks there is more to life than this. But he joins in feeling there is no other way out until his friend invites him to get out with her and her son, but it may be too late to turn back now after all he did.

Menace II Society is a great film with very thought provoking messages. When the grandfather said to Caine if he cared if he lived or died, it just broke my heart to think what the grandparents were going through knowing their grandson could die before they did. I think this is a very important film, it doesn't go over the top and it doesn't rub the gangsta life in your face, it just gives you a certain view of how scary it is to think there may be no way back.

8/10
2007-07-16
You can't just leave the ghetto..
:::SPOILER WARNING:::

One of the few ghetto films to be funny, sad, and violent all at the same time. Kevin 'O-Dog' [Larenz Tate] and Caine 'Kaydee' Lawson [Tyrin Turner] are 2 hustlers growing up in California. One day while going into a store for liquor, the Chinese owners start following them around like they're going to steal something. After buying the liquor, one of the Chinese owners makes a comment about O-Dog's mom. What's the price? Death. Both of the Chinese owners are killed by O-Dog and he takes the store tape so there was no proof. Kaydee was in shock.

Kaydee grew up around drugs. His father, Tat Lawson [Samuel L. Jackson], was a dealer. He saw his dad murder someone at the age of 10. His dad was later killed in a drug deal gone bad. Kaydee went to live with his grandparents.

Kaydee and his cousin Harold are out cruising one night and they're car jacked. Harold dies. O-Dog and Kaydee strike revenge on the killers by killing them at a burger joint. It was the first time Kaydee had murdered.

Kaydee falls in love with Ronnie [Jada Pinkett Smith]. She has a 5 year old son who reminds Kaydee of himself when he was young. Ronnie gets a job in Atlanta and he agrees to go with her. Pernell [Glenn Plummer] is the father. However, he is in jail for life with no chance of parole. Pernell was like a father figure to Kaydee when he was young. He told Kaydee to go to Atlanta with Ronnie and keep his son out of what they had become. But, before he found out about the Atlanta trip, Kaydee has sex with Llena [Erin Leshawn Wiley]. When she tells him she's pregnant, he says it's not his.

Kaydee and his friend Chauncy [Clifton Powell] get a in a fight and Kaydee beats him up pretty good because Chauncy was harassing Ronnie at a party. For revenge, Chauncy sends in the tape of the murder at the liquor store that O-Dog had been showing everyone.

When Llena's cousin [Samuel Monroe Jr], confronts Kaydee about Llena being pregnant, he beats him up saying it's not his. Just when Kaydee and Ronnie are getting ready to move, DRIVE BY! Kaydee is shot dead by Llena's cousin for revenge. O-Dog is sent to jail because of the tape.

This story shows you that "you can't just leave the ghetto." You can't ignore what's going around you. You need to be in a gang or affiliated with drugs to live. If you don't belong with anyone, they will all be after you. They aren't scum. They're trying to make a living so they can get out of the ghetto. But by the time Kaydee was ready to leave, it was too late. He had done to many things to turn around and fix, and he had done too many things to move on. -Pat

9/10
2004-04-11
Great acting, choice of narration and directing.
The film starts off with the murders at a convenience story, and introduces the voice-over narration of the story. I find that this voice-over does wonders at making the audience sympathize with Caine's character. He was born into this society, and therefore is not to blame for his actions and choices. Though his character is not as unpredictably violent like O-Dog, and is somewhat mild. He doesn't carry a gun, and his demeanour isn't that menacing. The voice-over helps to gain some insight into his thoughts and is thus more humanized.

Tyrin Turner does a great job portraying his character. As a young boy on the edge of adulthood and just out of high school, Caine has no direction in life, and even has trouble answering whether he cares if he lives or dies. The many close-ups show his confusion at times and at others, his indifference to violence, implying his slow immersion into becoming like O-Dog. O-Dog is represented as a bit of a psychopath with no remorse or conscience for life. It takes little to set him off and Tate does a fantastic job of portraying this terrifying character.

This film is well made and the directing shows it. The Hughes Brothers perfectly place juxtapositions of scenes together for maximum impact. The flashback comes in the beginning and establishes Caine's back story while creating sympathy for him. The composition of shots too are done nicely, and complements the way the characters tend to travel in groups.

There is a lot of violence in this though, and it serves to show a realistic representation but can be very brutal. As mentioned before, it takes very little to upset O-Dog and turn him loose. The swearing is also very apparent and not one sentence goes by without them. Sometimes whole conversations go by with just cursing.

Overall a very powerful representation of ghetto society, where importance is on staying together and protecting one's own. Masculinity is also obviously a very big issue as they constantly try to assert themselves through aggression and cursing.

Read more movie reviews at: championangels.wordpress.com
2015-10-04
Too fragmented
A brutal and thoroughly realistic of life in the afroamerican dominated Watts district in Los Angeles. Depicting the life of one adolescent criminal Caine (Tyrin Turner) with little restraint or hints of glossing over the morality, "Menace II Society" is a harrowing piece and fascinating debut by the Hughes Brothers. Fragmented and chaotic in storytelling, much like the unplanned, unfocused everyday life the plot moves from event to event in a seemingly unconnected fashion, with only Caine being the stalwart throughout. Other characters appear briefly throughout like Caine's drug dealing father (Samuel L. Jackson), his unscrupulous friend O-Dog (Larenz Tate) or Islam convert Tony (Anthony Johnson) fill in point of views, context and give a wider outlook at life in Watts. Events are left touched, but unfinished, as if small captions of reality captured on screen. The key character of the movie is Caine himself, who is equally endearing as he is menacing, dangerous and morally corrupt, an amalgamate of good and evil, leaving viewers unable to fully define the person along such close-minded perceptions.

This method of storytelling does make it touch watching, lacking suspense or story-build, failing to connect with the audience. Nonetheless by the final act, when all events seamlessly summarise the life of Caine we receive a really poignant conclusion. The overall impact has somewhat waned through time and the filmmaking deficiencies in cinematography, sound or basic storytelling take away from what is an otherwise gratifying experience.
2012-09-28
Impacting and culturally important but also rather clichéd and obvious
I can't remember the details but there was a period where, in the wake of Reservoir Dogs, Menace II Society was prevented from getting a certificate in the UK and was essentially banned amid a storm of hand-wringing and worry over violence in films. It was the mid-90's where I finally got to see the film on a really bad VHS with the tracking all over the place – but since then I don't think I had watched it till this weekend. It is quite hard to believe that the film was once subject to controversy; not only is it reasonably tame compared to modern standards, but it is also pretty "realistic" and doesn't fetishize or glamorize the violence (as opposed to the modern torture porn genre for example). It is additionally confusing when one looks back onto a film that is about as morally-sound and positive as you could hope – pretty much to a fault actually.

The plot sees Caine getting drawn into violence and ultimately we all know where this is heading from the start because the film is from a certain period and a certain genre. Watching it again it is disappointing that so much of the film seems clichéd and rather obvious in terms of the dialogue, but maybe this is because it has been done so often since, it is hard to say in retrospect, but for sure the film does feel very "obvious" across the telling. This doesn't make it a bad film though – just perhaps a little clumsier than I would have liked. The delivery is still impacting though and the film does well to create a sense of characters with no future but death or jail; there are moments of relaxing and family, moments of joking around and moments of violence – the film does well to make them all just seem like part of life here. Yes the plot goes where you expect but it is still hard to watch and hard to stomach.

The cast are better than the names would suggest. In particular Turner does better than I expected – he cannot make the overly earnest narration work, but he does deliver a good character. Tate has things simpler and is only OK; I found him a bit too slick to be the character he was playing. The support cast features some faces (Jackson, Duke, Smith and a few rappers of note) but generally the cast are unknown and pretty natural – it is only when they have to deliver some clunky lines that they struggle ("man enough to take a live but not to raise one" being an example).

Menace II Society stuck in my mind because of the controversy surrounding it in the UK, but watching it now it just seems tame and fairly "normal". Part of this is the film convincing the viewer of this world but it is also down to the fact that the film is actually quite morally simple and obvious. It does still have an impact and it is a culturally important film, but for sure it has its flaws and there are better films from the period tackling the same issues but better.
2012-05-13
Dark, explosive and intense, Menace II Society is the greatest hood movie ever made.
Menace II Society is easily the greatest hood movie ever made. Some may argue in favor of Juice or Boyz 'N The Hood (which received a higher level of critical acclaim) but Menace II Society captures the desperation and mindlessness of angry hood youths unlike any other film. It's a shame that Tyger Williams' screenplay was not awarded for it's depiction of the hood's harsh reality. His dialogue is realistic and quirky, but funny and chilling at the same time. Instead of painting the characters like the cartoon cliches they make themselves out to be. Instead of glorifying their violent ways, the Hughes Brothers present these characters as being trapped by the ghetto, and use it as an excuse to live recklessly, steal and kill. Instead of the overacting "you shot my baby!" scene of Singleton's take on life in the hood, the film is packed with several touching scenes, which kick in at a gut level. Specifically, the scene where Caine is playing a boxing videogame with his girlfriend's son and teaches him how to fire a gun, and the mother runs in and pulls him away. We also learn about Caine's relationship with the baby's father, Glenn Plummer (who delivers a brief but memorable performance as a reformed, reeducated gang banger locked behind bars.) He then sheds a tear and tells him that he was "like a father to him". He closes his eyes trying to hold back his feelings and asks Caine to "teach his son how to be a man." In those simple words lie the essence of this film, as in earlier scenes Caine recalls the advice his real father gave him, including how he was taught to cook crack. The concept of father figures and the Id is touched upon in little detail, and in a way they seem like society's orphans but it is impossible to justify these character's lives, especially in the case of O-Dog. In the opening scene, he blows a Korean store clerk's brains out of the back of his head and murders his wife for making a comment about his "mama", then steals the surveilance tape and shows it off to his friends. If there ever was a character who "just didn't give a f**k" it's O-Dog. After Caine and his cousin are shot and robbed, they retaliate and exact their bloody revenge, in some of the most perfectly directed and edited scenes of the film. Hughes Brothers showed promise with their 1993 debut, and it has gone on to withstand the test of time, and has become a bigger favorite than BOYZ. The acting is more heartfelt and the characters are more clearly defined. Either they express minimal aspirations to want to get out of the hood, or their too caught up in the gangland violence and mafioso-like status they long for. In one particular scene, O-Dog murders a fiend in cold blood for offering a sexual favor in return for crack. He then picks up a bag of cheeseburgers lying next to the corpse and asks his friends if they want any. The characters seem to enjoy violence (in a manner similar to the characters in Goodfellas, who pillage out of neccesity AND habit) and don't want to let go of their vigilant lives. The end is somewhat dissapointing because in it's own garbled way it's telling us that their is now escape from the hood. The only reality is their own disillusionment with any other way of life.
2002-07-30
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