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Menace Society II Movie Review

caine tate awards life

In the first few minutes of Menace II Society, a teenaged boy named Caine (Tyrin Turner) watches as O-Dog (Larenz Tate) guns down a Korean couple who run a shop in Watts, California. Unlike O-Dog, Caine Lawson wants to leave this way of life, but he can't see a way out. Fellow gang member Sharif (Vonte Sweet) is the son of a teacher, Mr. Butler (Charles S. Dutton), who lets Caine know that education is one way out. Another gang member, Stacy (Ryan Williams), receives a college scholarship to play football in Kansas, and he asks Caine to go with him. And Caine's girlfriend, Ronnie (Jada Pinkett), tries to persuade Caine to move to Atlanta with her. Despite these possibilities, Caine has been worn down by a life filled with guns and drugs, violence and death. Unsurprisingly, he's fatalistic about his life, if he ever has a chance to HAVE a future. The Hughes brothers, who are twins, were only 21 when they made their directorial debut. Both Menace II Society and their equally compelling follow-up film, 1995's Dead Presidents starring Tate, are filled with disturbing images of realistic bloodletting and the raging, urban sound of raw language. The core of their films, a deep understanding of each and every character, more than justifies their take-no-prisoners approach to filmmaking. We really NEED directors with such penetrating insights into contemporary society.

1993 (R) 104m/C Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, Samuel L. Jackson, Glenn Plummer, Julian Roy Doster, Bill Duke, Charles S. Dutton, Jada Pinkett Smith, Vonte Sweet, Ryan Williams; D: Allen Hughes, Albert Hughes; W: Tyger Williams; C: Lisa Rinzler. Independent Spirit Awards ‘94: Best Cinematography; MTV Movie Awards ‘94: Best Film; Nominations: Independent Spirit Awards ‘94: Best Actor (Turner), Best First Feature. VHS, LV, Closed Caption, DVD

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