Archive for Bokeem Woodbine

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 4, 2017 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Following the Battle of New York, Adrian Toomes and his salvage company are contracted to clean up the city, but their operation is taken over by the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.), a partnership between Tony Stark and the U.S. government. Enraged at being driven out of business, Toomes persuades his employees to keep the Chitauri technology they have already scavenged and use it to create and sell advanced weapons. Eight years later, Peter Parker is drafted into the Avengers by Stark to help with an internal dispute, but resumes his studies at the Midtown School of Science and Technology when Stark tells him he is not yet ready to become a full Avenger.

Parker quits his school’s academic decathlon team to spend more time focusing on his crime-fighting activities as Spider-Man. One night, after preventing criminals from robbing an ATM with their advanced weapons from Toomes, Parker returns to his Queens apartment where his best friend Ned discovers his secret identity. On another night, Parker comes across Toomes’ associates Jackson Brice / Shocker and Herman Schultz selling weapons to local criminal Aaron Davis. Parker nearly drowns intervening, and is rescued by Stark, who is monitoring the Spider-Man suit he gave Parker and warns him against involvement with the dangerous criminals. Toomes accidentally kills Brice with one of their weapons, and Schultz becomes the new Shocker.

Parker and Ned study a weapon left behind by Brice, removing its power core. When a tracking device on Schultz leads to Maryland, Parker rejoins the decathlon team and accompanies them to Washington, D.C. for their national tournament. Ned and Parker disable the tracker Stark implanted in the Spider-Man suit, and unlock its advanced features. Parker tries to stop Toomes from stealing weapons from a D.O.D.C. truck, but is overpowered and trapped inside the truck, causing him to miss the decathlon tournament. When he discovers that the power core is an unstable Chitauri grenade, Parker races to the Washington Monument where the core explodes and traps Ned and their friends in an elevator. Evading local authorities, Parker saves his friends, including his fellow classmate and crush Liz. Returning to New York City, Parker persuades Davis to reveal Toomes’ whereabouts. Aboard the Staten Island Ferry, Parker captures Toomes’ new buyer Mac Gargan, but Toomes escapes and a malfunctioning weapon tears the ferry in half. Stark helps Parker save the passengers before admonishing him for his recklessness and taking away his suit.

Parker returns to his high school life, and eventually asks Liz to go to the homecoming dance with him. On the night of the dance, Parker learns that Liz is Toomes’ daughter. Deducing Parker’s secret identity, Toomes threatens retaliation if he interferes with his plans. During the dance, Parker realizes Toomes is planning to hijack a D.O.D.C. plane transporting weapons from Avengers Tower to the team’s new headquarters. He dons his old homemade Spider-Man suit and races to Toomes’ lair. He is first ambushed by Schultz, but defeats him with the help of Ned. At the lair, Toomes destroys the building’s support beams and leaves Parker to die. Parker is able to escape the rubble and intercepts the plane, steering it to crash on the beach near Coney Island. He and Toomes engage in an open confrontation that ends with Parker saving Toomes’ life from his own unstable equipment, and leaving him for the police along with the plane’s cargo. After her father’s arrest, Liz moves away, and Parker declines an invitation from Stark to join the Avengers full time. Stark returns Parker’s suit, which he puts on at his apartment just as his Aunt May walks in.

In a mid-credits scene, an incarcerated Gargan approaches Toomes in prison. Gargan has heard that Toomes knows Spider-Man’s real identity, but Toomes denies this.

REVIEW:

With all the success Marvel has had with the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), they could not say they truly were a success story until there was a Spider-Man film under their wing. With Sony holding the rights to the character (not to mention the Fantastic Four) hostage, many were wondering if we would ever see the day when Spidey would grace the big screen in the MCU…then we saw Captain America: Civil War. Now, Spider-Man: Homecoming aims to take that character introduction and flesh out a third cinematic version of Peter Parker. Hey, at least this one is age-appropriate, right?

What is this about?

Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark, Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.

What did I like?

Fun. Audiences and critics have been noticing something in superhero films (and TV shows). A lack of fun! Think about how bright and vibrant Superman is and now think about what we were forced to sit through with Man of Steel. Somewhere along the way, our superheroes stopped being beacons of hope, and turned into examples of how to brood. Spider-Man has not been exempt from this curse. Toby Maguire’s version started out pretty good, but couldn’t keep it up. I never cared for Andrew Garfield or his take on the character, so I won’t waste time on him. Tom Holland brings a fresh take to Spider-Man in that we haven’t seen him as a high schooler, at least not an age appropriate high schooler. With that, the fun and innocence that Stan Lee intended for the character is front and center, as are the awkward moments of being a teenager. Again, this is what Stan Lee envision when he first created him, not some attitude having, puffy haired, British string bean who ruins the character of Peter Parker.

We know the story. Look, if you don’t know the origin of Spider-Man by now, either through comics, cartoons, Watchmojo.com, Wikipedia, or whatever, then chances are you either don’t care or just haven’t bothered to learn yourself something. With that said, I join the billions of fans who saw this and noticed the absence of Uncle Ben’s murder. As a matter of fact, it isn’t even mentioned! We are more than aware than Ben gets shot and its Peter’s fault, but in the last 5 Spider-Man movies, we have either seen this happen or been privy to a bevy of flashbacks so that we can relive the scene ad naseum. Thank goodness the 6th time they got it right and didn’t include anything about the murder…though I do hope in future films we get something on what happened. I’m mostly curious as to who they’ll cast as Uncle Ben to pair with Marisa Tomei’s Aunt May

Cap must’ve needed the money. One of the best cameos in the picture is Captain America doing PSAs. While I was laughing when Cap showed up in these videos, I couldn’t help but wonder why he was doing them. Did the government make him? Is he just being a good guy and attempting to help the youth? Just some thoughts that popped in my head. I’m sure that I am just overanalyzing and  these were nothing more than a funny thing to include in the film.

What didn’t I like?

Homage or ripoff? About halfway through the picture, there is a scene where Spider-Man has to use all of his strength to hold two halves of a dissected boat together. As I was sitting there watching him strain, I couldn’t help but recall the train sequence in Spider-Man 2 when Toby Maguire is called on to use all of his strength to stop the train. Many people have noticed this comparison and now I must ask…is this an homage or a ripoff? I see it more as an homage, personally. The scene in question is from what is arguably the best Spider-Man film to date, so why wouldn’t you bring something from that great film into this new version? Also, if it was a ripoff, I think we’d have a seen something involving the subway, I’m sure.

What a shock! Shocker is one of my favorite in Spider-Man’s rogues gallery. I can’t tell you why, but I have this affinity for him. Maybe it’s the Texas connection?!? At any rate, I was over the hills with excitement when I heard the announcement he was going to be in this film. Then I saw him and my jaw dropped. This is not Shocker. He doesn’t even really don the costume, save for the sleeves on his jacket. How is it we can get nearly every detail right with superheroes, but for the villains they just seem to wear similar colors to their comic counterparts. I wonder why that is!

A change will do you good. My first introduction to the Vulture was as an elderly gentlemen who was running part of the criminal organizations in NYC. Obviously, there are some differences between that idea and the one we see on the screen. Most importantly, the family man version of the character remained intact. So, why would I not like the change in history? Well, just this week, some promotional photos were released for Deadpool 2, specifically images of the mutant, Domino. I bring this up because she’s quite the curvy wonder in the pics, it is the sudden realization that she is now to be played by an actress of color…complete with afro and some weird face that causes her to look like a dog. What is the reason for this change? No real reason, they just wanted someone of ethnicity to play a character who has plae white skin.

Final verdict on Spider-Man:Homecoming? This is the superhero film we’ve all been clamoring for. It has action, humor, sci-fi, crime, and even a love story. What is there to not like? While Marvel and Sony are sure to fight over who gets credit here, really it is the fans and moviegoers that win. Do  I recommend  this? Emphatically yes! The cons are few and the pros are many. Go check it out!

5 out of 5 stars

 

The Big Hit

Posted in Action/Adventure, Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Melvin Smiley (Mark Wahlberg) is a hitman leading a secret life as well as maintaining two relationships, one with the demanding and demeaning Chantel (Lela Rochon), who doesn’t accept his work, and another with Pam (Christina Applegate), who knows nothing of his job. Melvin is somewhat of a pushover, trying to appease all of Chantel’s demands, even her most expensive wishes, as well as rolling over whenever one of his co-workers takes credit for his achievements. Perhaps as a result of his helplessness in asserting himself, throughout the early scenes Melvin is often seen drinking Maalox to relieve an incipient ulcer.

Feeling underpaid for their work for mob boss Paris (Avery Brooks), the assassin team of Smiley, Cisco (Lou Diamond Phillips), Crunch (Bokeem Woodbine), Vince (Antonio Sabato Jr.), and Gump (Robin Dunne) take an independent job, kidnapping Keiko Nishi (China Chow), the teenage daughter of local electronics magnate Jiro Nishi (Sab Shimono), for a hefty ransom. Unfortunately, the team does not realize that Nishi has recently gone bankrupt over his failed foray into motion pictures — and furthermore, their boss Paris is the girl’s godfather. Enlisted by the group to hold Keiko, Melvin has to hide the bound and gagged schoolgirl on his property, attempting to keep her presence hidden from Pam and her parents, who are coming for dinner. Melvin feels sorry for the girl, and relieves her from her bondage. In the ensuing hours they build up a rapport preparing dinner together, an act which leads into a love scene reminiscent of the pottery scene from Ghost, but which is cut short when Keiko attempts to escape.

Ordered by Paris to discover the kidnappers of his goddaughter, a panicked Cisco kills Gump, but not before coaxing him into also implicating Melvin for the kidnapping. A team of assassins crash Melvin’s dinner with Pam’s family, leading to a shootout during which Melvin realizes Pam was going to break up with him under pressure from her stereotypically Jewish mother (Lainie Kazan). Melvin and Keiko’s feelings for each other lead them to form an awkward romance, and she and Melvin attempt to escape from the fiasco, pursued by Cisco. In the chaos, Melvin happens to run into Chantel and finally takes the opportunity to stand up to her and end their relationship. An extended fight erupts, culminating at a video store where the ever-honest Melvin stops to return an overdue tape. Melvin kills Cisco, but not before Cisco arms an explosive device. Melvin leaves the building and is confronted by Keiko, her father and Paris. He re-enters the building, which explodes. Paris and Keiko, believing Melvin to be dead, call off the manhunt. Soon Melvin is revealed to have survived, sheltered from the blast by an enormous solid gold film stand-up made for the flop that destroyed Nishi’s career. In the end of the film Melvin and Keiko are reunited and ride off together. Nishi recoups his losses by making a film out of the story of his daughter’s kidnapping

REVIEW:

Please excuse the rushed crudity of this post on The Big Hit. I am trying to watch and write at the same time so that I can be finished in time to fully devote myself to a major event that is airing within the hour. So, let’s get to it!

What is this about?

Four enterprising hit men kidnap a wealthy executive’s daughter but overlook a few crucial details — including that she’s their boss’s goddaughter.

What did I like?

Off the Enterprise. Avery Brooks is best known for his role on one of those Star Trek spinoffs that was syndicated in the mid to late 90s. Forgive me for not being a Trekkie and not knowing every incarnation of the Enterprise and her crew. As has been apparent, being on most incarnations of that show can lead to type-casting as not many actors who were regulars on those shows do much else besides other sci-fi shows and comic cons, Patrick Stewart being the most notable exception. Seeing Brooks do something else shows how talented the guy actually is. I wonder why we haven’t seen him in anything else.

Nice guys don’t always finish last. There was an ongoing joke a few years back were Mark Wahlberg was the consummate nice guy, asking everyone how they were and how their family was doing. I can’t help but think that this character had some influence on that, unless there was something else that I missed. This is early in Wahlberg’s career, so he’s still young, and it shows, but for this character youth pays off. Not to mention he gets the girl in the end. Who says nice guys finish last, huh?

(Lou) Diamond (Phillips) in the rough. The last time I believe that I saw Lou Diamond Phillips, he was getting attacked by stuffed animals at the end of the “Radioactive” video by Imagine Dragons. Here’s the thing, this is a guy who is supremely talented, but for some odd reason, he has never really gotten the big break. Playing this hitman who loses it shows the audience a different side of Phillips that we haven’t seen before. Perhaps we need to see more of this. I know that I was impressed with what I saw. He was calm, cool, suave, and collected throughout the first part of the film, then a switch was flipped and he went insane. I loved it!

What didn’t I like?

Jewish parents. Let me preface this by saying that I have nothing against those that follow the Jewish faith. However, I didn’t really see the need for Christina Applegate and her parents to be Jewish, other than comic relief. Yes, they worked, but was it really necessary? They could have very easily been Baptist, Methodist, Atheist, or some other religion and just had funny personalities. While I’m on this topic, Applegate as a Jewish girl does not work. Something about her accent made her sound like Kelly Bundy meets the Jersey Shore. Not exactly the reaction that she would want, I’m sure.

Chow down. The fight between Wahlberg and Phillips in the video store in the final act, yes I said video store, is pretty epic. It makes you wish that there was more action in this so-called action comedy. After all the dust clears and the credits start rolling, it says “introducing China Chow.” Who is China Chow? Well, in this film, she is the girl who gets kidnapped and ends up falling for Wahlberg’s character. I’m not sure she warrants an introduction, though, as she doesn’t do anything of note in the film, and since the release of this film, hasn’t done much of anything, except a couple of episodes of Burn Notice, so what was the point of introducing her, really?

Lela. Sakes alive, Lela Rochon is drop dead gorgeous! Such a shame she’s a total bitch in this film, though. There isn’t a scene than she’s in where she’s not yelling at someone, except for when she has a gun pointed to her head, then she shuts up. Strange enough, how that happens, huh? I have to wonder how this shrew of a woman ended up with Wahlberg. No wonder he was cheating on her. Geez!

So, The Big Hit was not a big hit for me. I was looking for something more action comedy and what I got was the inbred child of Goodfellas and Ocean’s 11. Would I recommend this to anyone? Not really. I didn’t even know about this film until earlier this year when I happened to run across it while flipping through the channels late at night. While I won’t say avoid this, it isn’t worth your time.

2 3/4 out of 5 stars

Devil

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Ramirez (Jacob Vargas) speaks in a voice-over about stories that his mother told him about the Devil sometimes actively seeking out individuals who have sinned, while they’re still alive on Earth. While taking human form, he traps them in a confined place only to turn them against each other, before killing them one at a time. Ramirez explains that the last victim will die in front of his or her loved one to make cynics of them all, and in the end, all will die. He says that the signs are set in motion with a suicide, as that is when the Devil first makes his presence known. This story is abruptly interrupted by a violent suicide of a man who had fallen from the thirty-fifth floor of a Philadelphia office building; the truck he landed on rolls silently away from the scene.

Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) is a recovering alcoholic who is assigned to the case of the suicide. He later explains that the reason for his alcoholism was the hit and run death of his wife, and toddler son, five years prior. When he investigates the suicide, he determines that the truck originated from an office building down the block from where the victim was found. Meanwhile, five strangers board an elevator, which becomes stuck between floors just shortly after starting up to the upper floors. When security finds them, they notice that there is CCTV and a radio with which they can call into the elevator, but they have no way of hearing the passengers in return. Bowden takes the investigation regarding the elevator as it is the same building from which the suicide victim jumped.

Ramirez is revealed to be one of the security guards and is disturbed by an image of what looks like a screaming face frozen on the video monitor that flashes away. His boss Lustig (Matt Craven) dismisses the superstitious suspicions and sends repair technician Dwight (Joe Cobden) to investigate the elevators while Bowden tries to ascertain the identities of the individuals. Only four of the five are accounted for: Vince McCormick (Geoffrey Arend), a sleazy mattress salesman known for investments and frauds; Sarah Caraway (Bojana Novakovic), the wife of a rich man who is a pathological liar and plans to leave her husband and take his money; Ben Larson (Bokeem Woodbine), a temporary security guard with a history of violence, who is in only his second day on the job; Jane Kowski (Jenny O’Hara), an older woman who is seen on video to be a thief, and another man who later introduces himself as Tony (Logan Marshall-Green), who does not appear to have signed in at the security desk.

The power goes out in the elevator and Sarah is wounded with what appears to be a bite. All suspicion is initially focused on Vince, who has been edgy since the ride began, however there is another power failure and Vince is thrown into the mirror only to have his jugular vein sliced. The others watch in horror as he dies, forcing Bowden to consider this a murder scene. Dwight attempts to rappel down the elevator shaft via a pulley to try to fix the elevator, but Ramirez says that the Devil will stop any attempts to help his victims, and Dwight’s strap comes loose when he is knocked over by a flock of birds and plummets to the roof of the elevator. The power goes out again. When it comes back, Jane is found hanging high off the floor, dead, causing both Sarah and Ben to accuse Tony while Tony swears his innocence. Tony then releases her from the cables that hang her from the ceiling, causing her body to fall to the floor.

Lustig goes to investigate the power in the basement and there finds a loose power cable that appears to be the cause of the elevator malfunction, but he is electrocuted trying to fix the issue. Meanwhile in a men’s room adjacent to the main lobby, Bowden finds a set of tools that Tony had brought in and briefly suspects he might be responsible for sabotaging the elevator. His suspicions then turn to Ben when he realizes that the building’s security company, Caraway Security, is owned by Sarah’s husband. Aware of Ben’s violent past, he becomes convinced that Ben was hired to kill Sarah by her husband to keep her from leaving him broke, and that the two other murders were orchestrated to make the entire episode appear as a random serial killing. However Ben himself becomes the victim of the next blackout, when he winds up on the floor with his neck twisted around grotesquely, leaving the police further horrified and baffled.

The two remaining survivors, Sarah and Tony, face off with each other, but lower their weapons after Detective Bowden calms them down over the loudspeaker. Then there is another blackout and Sarah’s throat is cut. As she dies in his arms, a woman claiming to be Tony’s fiancee is brought before Bowden and informs him that Tony’s last name is “Janekowski”, and that he is in the building for a job interview, thus eliminating the possibility of the old woman’s name being Jane Kowski.

As they realize this the old woman rises up, revealing herself to be the Devil. Tony tries to bargain with her to save Sarah’s life and sacrifice his own; she scoffs at this, revealing that she’s going to kill him anyway. In a last, desperate plea for forgiveness, Tony, using a radio, confesses to a hit and run five years earlier: while drunkenly reaching for beer in his car, he smashed into another car and killed a woman (unknown to Tony that the woman was Jesse Bowden (Gage Munroe), Detective Bowden’s wife) and her child. Bowden realizes that Ramirez was right about him having been meant to be the audience to this.

The Devil, powerless now that Tony has repented of his sin, curses before vanishing, and the elevator comes back on line, leaving Tony’s life spared. Bowden offers to take Tony into custody for the confession, and while en route, informs him who he is. But despite saying he’d gone over what he’d say, or what he would do if they’d ever cross paths, he forgives Tony.

Ramirez, again in a voice-over, says that his mother always reassured him at the end of her stories, “If the Devil is real, then God must be real too.”

REVIEW:

Elevators…small rooms that go up and down and are usually crowded with people sharing uncomfortable silences and listening to musak. Imagine if you had to be in one of these things, but it gets stuck. While you are trapped in this thing, periodically the lights go out and each of your fellow passengers are picked off…one…by…one. That is what you expect when you watch Devil.

This film does a real good job of building up the tension. If you’ve ever been stuck in an elevator, then you know how uncomfortable it is. The sheer thought of one false move being able to plummet you to your death is not a good feeling. Couple that with being in an enclosed space and surely the feeling of dread is multiplied.

I can only imagine how horrid it must be for a claustrophobic to be in an elevator under normal circumstances, but to be in one that is stuck and experiencing random killings? Yikes!

The tone of this film is  not entirely bleak. There are moments where the elevator passengers try to, and I emphasize the word try, to keep each other’s spirits up. Of course, this goes one until the guy who is supposed to be the “funny guy” is killed.

I must tip my hat to these actors. It cannot have been easy filming this thing in an elevator like this. We all know that actors have 18-20 hr work days. Think about being in an elevator that long for, let’s say 3 months, whereas the normal person is only in an elevator maybe 20 minutes during a week, if that long.

With the high praise I have for that part of the cast and this story, I do have to wonder why it is they can’t just have used them and the guys trying to fix the elevator. I say this because about halfway through, they bring in the random cop who does nothing more than confuse things even more. However, his use is revealed at the film’s end, but it still doesn’t excuse trying to force a character on us. The film was doing just fine before he came in and then it all but came to a screeching halt.

The unexpected twist at the end is reminiscent of the days when M. Night Shyamalan was actually a competent director, well producer in this case, and not the living joke he has become since about the time he foisted Lady in the Water on us. If only he’s stick to stuff like this, but I think anAirbendersequel is coming, whether anyone wants it to or not.

This cast of unknowns works for a flick like this, but at the same time, they make it a bit hard to get invested in it. Perhaps if they would have shelled out the bucks and brought in a name actor or actress then it might have helped things out.

When all is said and done, Devil works for what it is. Some people have chided its length, but in this day and age, do we really need a lengthy horror flick. Not to mention the pace at which this film was going doesn’t exactly lend itself to a longer film, not without totally losing the audience, who are just about gone by the time the killer is revealed, anyway.

Do I recommend this? I do, but with hesitation. This is the kind of film that will make you wary of elevators and the people who ride them. If that was its purpose, then by all means, mission accomplished. However, I think the film was meant to tell a good horror story, sort of like the kind that used to be told around campfires. With that in mind, I think the film could have been better, but it did a decent job. Check it out sometime!

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Jason’s Lyric

Posted in Drama, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2011 by Mystery Man

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.

REVIEW:

 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