Jason’s Lyric

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Jason’s Lyric is the “good brother”/”bad brother” story, which was set to be filmed in the 5th ward of Houston, but due to gentrification the only part that was filmed there was the basketball scene. The remainder was filmed in the 3rd ward.

Jason (Allen Payne) is a responsible young man who has a job in a television repair shop and lives at home with his hard-working mom (Suzzanne Douglass). Joshua (Bokeem Woodbine) is the younger brother just released from prison and obviously bound for a violent end. Joshua deals drugs for short-term cash and joins a gang plotting a bank robbery.

When Lyric (Jada Pinkett Smith) walks into the shop to buy a television, Jason meets his perfect match. She has dreams of escape, and inspires Jason to do supposedly romantic things like borrow a city bus to take her on a date. Their relationship continually grows and blossoms into love. The height comes when Jason and Lyric take a romantic ride in a rowboat, then make love in the woods.

In a series of flashbacks, Forest Whitaker plays the boys’ father, Mad Dog. Throughout the film, Jason has nightmares about a tragedy in his childhood. Either Jason or Joshua killed Mad Dog while he was drunkenly attacking their mother. It turns out that Jason accidentally killed Mad Dog in the end. Jason managed to take the gun from Joshua and accidentally shot Mad Dog in the chest. After being comforted by Lyric, he learns to deal with his past.

As punishment for being late for the bank robbery, Joshua is beaten by the rest of his gang. When Joshua returns home and Jason realize how badly he’s been beaten, Jason confronts the leader of the gang.

Jason then meets Lyric at the bayou and tells her that he can’t leave with her and that his nightmares occur because he killed his father when he was a child and that’s why he feels obligated to his family.

Things get worse when Joshua hears his mother tell Jason to leave town with Lyric because he doesn’t owe her or Joshua anything. Joshua believes that Jason is leaving not only because of Lyric, but because Alonzo (the gang leader) may take revenge. Joshua plans to kill them all in order to keep his brother from leaving.

Jason hears about Joshua’s plan and heads to Alonzo/Lyric’s house, but he’s too late. He see’s what has happened and rushes upstairs looking for Lyric. He finds that Joshua has a gun pointed at her neck. He is able to convince Joshua not to kill her, but he accidentally pulls the trigger and shoots her on the right-side of her shoulder. Jason carries her out of the house, injured, but still alive. However, Joshua is too fed up with his life and decides to end it all by killing himself (offscreen). After hearing the gunshot, Jason already knows that his brother is dead. The film ends with Jason and Lyric riding a bus, leaving town.


 I’m a little partial to this picture, as it is one of the first films I saw that showed boobs. Yeah, that isn’t that big of a deal to me now, but for a teenage boy, it was.

Keeping in step with the urban gangster films of the early to mid 90s, Jason’s Lyric chooses to go more with the with the everyday drama of young urban life with just some hints at gang life, if you can even call it that.

The plot, as mentioned above, is really a good brother/bad brother story. Jason, the good brother, kept his nose clean, has a job, and once he meets Lyric has the girl and a way out. The bad brother, Joshua, has apparently, been in and out of jail for various reasons, leading to him being nothing more than a disappointment to his mother and leaving the viewer to wonder what would happen to him if not for Jason looking out for him.

Belive it or not, the dram between the brothers is actually more of the major plot than the relationship between Jason and Lyric, even though that is the film’s title.

Speaking of said relationship involving Lyric, she seems to be wise beyond her years and a nice complement to Jason who is always trying to be the hero, which is why he is still in the ghetto and hasn’t left for greener pastures.

The climax of the film is one that can touch on the heartstrings if you one of those really emotional types. I’m not one of those, but I can tell how it could be construed as emotional.

Allen Payne gives the best performance I’ve seen from him in his career here as Jason. He does seem, at times, to be a bit of a dumb jock, but then a pretty fact can do that to guys sometimes, right?

Speaking of that face, Jade Pinkett (not yet Smith) looks positively radiant, but I can’t get over that horrendously fake Texas accent. As a native Texan, I’m offended by it, to be honest with you.

Bokeem Woodbine makes a name for himself as Josh, and may very well give the best performance of the movie at the end when he’s struggling between what I believe are the good and evil thought going through his brain.

Jason’s Lyric is one of those films that was popular when it was new, but has since been forgotten, which is quite a shame because this is really a fine piece of cinema. Sure, it isn’t one of the greats, but it is worth viewing. Why not check it out if you get the chance?

4 out of 5 stars

7 Responses to “Jason’s Lyric”

  1. this movie is not forgotten by everyone. This is one of my favorites. Havent watched it in a while but it def. in the collection 🙂

  2. Mystery Man Says:

    wow! thanks for all the comments, Tiffany! 🙂

    you really think its not forgotten? intersting

  3. you are very welcome. It may take me a while to get through all your reviews but I am working on it. 🙂 and no it isnt forgotten by everyone. at least not me.

  4. Mystery Man Says:

    lol well, it’ll give you something to do while you’re at work…lol there’ll be new stuff up tomorrow

  5. […] it surprises me that a lesser known film has the most views. Some of you may not have heard of Jason’s Lyric, so here’s your chance to see what it’s about, then maybe you’ll be […]

  6. Bernadine Williams Says:

    Just Watch it Again…this time on tv….
    TV didn’t show the Love Scene @ Work, but I injected it from the
    first time I saw it!…
    …made me cry in the end….came out the year i got sober!….21 years ago….
    Still A Classic!

  7. […] As I prepare to close up shop on this blog (and perhaps start another), i did some statistical research and, after 10 yrs of reviews, the most viewed post was Jason’s Lyric […]

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