You know how the token black dude always gets killed first in action movies? In this movie directed by a black dude, the token Asian dude gets killed in the first 10 minutes. See, who says there's no progress?
This is a monumental gangster epic with intense performances and plenty of gritty realism mixed with some melodrama, making this feel like a classic gangster film about a modern tale. Chris Rock should have gotten an Academy Award for his role of Pookie too.
Really wanted to like this late-era Blaxploitation-cum-early-age modern black movement film, but it has no emotive through line nor internalizing, or even dramatization, making all the conflicts and action thud, with non-propulsion. While Peebles' action is flashy, if non-gripping, making it soulless like modern mainstream films (including Moonlight/Get Out,) and nowhere near the other great 90’s hood cinema.
Shot with such an intense kinetic energy that the acting and action can't possibly keep up with the stylistic momentum. There is an all-time great Wesley Snipes performance and an all-time terrible Ice-T performance and really strange pacing. Amazing set design and costuming makes it impossible to look away though. Also, So hilariously homoerotic - "I wanna shoot you so bad my dick's hard!"
Wesley Snipes does one of his most distinct roles as a street gangster with too much coke up his nose and a huge fondness for mayhem and women. It kick started the career of Chris Rock and the film is still one of his best appearances. Mario van Peebles directs an okay film but is himself weak as the heroic cop that is not even introduced before a fifth of the movie has been played out.