Blerd Film Club: Menace II Society

The Hughes Brothers are more know than The Wachowskis twins in some circles. Music videos, documentaries, they've done it all, together and separate. The Book of Eli, American Pimp, and Dead Presidents are probably some of their most well known works. Before all of that came the film Menace II Society. It's not a sequel, numbers were just cool to put in movies at the time.

Originally Tupac Shakur was set to play the role of Sharif in the film, but he got into a fist fight with one of the Hughes Brothers over his role. This led to to Tupac being fired as well as fellow rapper Spice-1. Tupac would go on record stating he didn't care about a "$100,000 movie." Tyrin Turner and Larenz Tate were hired to fill the roles instead.

The film starts with O-Dog and Caine going into a liquor store. Just two weeks after finishing high school. They're followed by one of the store owners as the other shouts at them to hurry up and get out of the store. After purchasing their beers the store owner initially refuses to give Caine their change. When he asks for the change, the store owner hands it over before telling them he feels sorry for their mothers. O-Dog shoots the store owner behind the counter and forces the other to give him the surveillance footage. She doesn't comply and is shot off screen. During this Caine screams out in horror about what he's witnessing and telling O-Dog to stop. O-Dog doesn't finish until he's found the hidden cash stash.

During a flashback scene we see Caine's upbringing. His father was a drug dealer and his mother was a heroin addict. Caine witnesses his father murder a man over money he was owed as his mother vomits in the background. This isn't the last time he would see his father kill a person. He'd see it many more times. Eventually his father is murdered, likely in retaliation for one of these murders. His mother also suffers a fatal overdose and Caine is left to be raised by his grandparents.

At a party later that night O-Dog puts the video tape on loop and shows it off to everyone. He's applauded for it. Meanwhile Caine begs him to stop showing the video to people as he knows they'll get found out eventually. O-Dog doesn't care and continues to play it. Caine leaves with his cousin Harold to go get some food. The two are held at gun point during a car jacking. Caine is told to get out the car and run because Harold refuses to give up his car. Before Harold can pull his gun, he's shot in the head and Caine is shot in the shoulder as he attempts to run.

O-Dog, and Stacy and Sharif (friends from high school), find Caine and rush him to the hospital. Initially the nurse refuses to call a doctor until they fill out the forms. When Caine is released he's informed by O-Dog where to find the shooters. With some help from a friend they kill the carjackers. Sometime later Caine and O-Dog are ironically arrested for car jacking that they didn't actually com After the arrest Caine is visited by multiple people who care about his well being. A former teacher Mr. Butler warns him not waste his life. His grandfather reminds him of his father's death and asks if he cares about living or dying. Stacy and Sheriff are moving to Kansas to escape the violence and offer a chance for Caine to come with them. He doesn't listen to any of them.

Ciane continues to go further and further into the street life. He buys a care from a chop shop and decides he needs nice rims for it and car jacks a man for his gold rims. Late one night while spending time with his friend Sharif they're stopped and beaten by police. In this case, they weren't guilty of anything as Sheriff doesn't participate in the street life. The police leave them in the territory of a Mexican gang, hoping they would murder the two. Instead the Mexican gang takes them to the hospital.

Again in the hospital Caine is visited by his friend Ronnie that has found a job in Atlanta and wants Caine to come with him. Again, to escape the violence. Caine first rejects the idea but eventually comes around. At a party a man makes some overly aggressive sexual advances on Ronnie. Cain comes and pistol whips the man until Sheriff and Stacy stop him. A woman named Ilena tells Caine she's pregnant with his child at this moment. He walks away not believing it or choosing not to deal with the situation after pistol whipping a man.

Outside his grandparents home he's confronted by Ilena's cousin. Caine beats her cousin and stomps him into unconsciousness on his grandparents front lawn. Later Ilana's cousin gathers his friends for payback. Ronnie, Caine, O-Dog, Stacy and Sheriff are loading the vehicle preparing for Ronnie and Caine to leave. Ilena's cousin and his friends roll around the corner and open fire. O-Dog shoots back, Sheriff is riddled with bullet holes. Caine attempts to escape but goes back to dive in front of Ronnie's son, shielding the child from bullets. Stacy hold Ronnie down inside the house so she isn't hit.

O-Dog just stands there and looks, finally traumatized by the violence that surrounds him. Ronnie runs off with her child not wanting him to see the violence. Caine dies in Stacy's arm trying to mouth something and finally finding an answer to his grandfather's question. He does care if he lives, but it's too late.

This movie scared me when I was a child. I knew it was a movie but it all just seemed so real. The violence in this was just too graphic. Usually in a film if a person is shot, that's it. They just lie down and close their eyes. But, in this movie when someone was shot, they still lied there twitching with their eyes open, gasping for air until they finally died. The thing about this film is everyone was baptized by violence and tried to deal with it in different ways. Some like Stacy and Sharif did everything they could to avoid it. Yet they were still surrounded by it. Sharif still died. Stacy lost all his friends.

Others like Caine attempted to adapt to it. Clearly after witnessing a murder at a young age violence wasn't something he wanted. He tried to stop the robbery in the store. He tried to run when he and Harold were being robbed as Harold wanted to shoot back. Eventually he just accepts it as a way of life. But, the person that scared me the most was O-Dog. He didn't adapt to the violence, he embraced it. Eventually becoming the bringer of violence. In once scene a drug addict attempts to barter for crack. O-Dog just shoots the man in broad daylight and makes a joke afterwards. As horrible as he was in the store robbery, that's the one that sticks with me the most. A lot of us know an O-Dog. Someone who jumps straight to violence as the answer for every problem. I know and O-Dog, you probably know one too. It might not always be a gun, but there's always going to be a fight.

The reason this movie scared me so much is because it's just right there in your face. There's not time for things to soak in or digest it's just right there. This is life, it's fast paced. It's violent and in the end sometimes there's no way to win. Avoid the life, you still get pulled in. Embrace the life, you end up in jail or dead. Take your pick, but you do not get to win this game called life. You might see some things that you aren't supposed to see. It might mess you up. But, there's not chance to digest it because in the next few moments something will happen.

Hood Drama, Teen Drama, Crime Film, and so on. People classify this film in a lot of different genres. For me, it's a horror movie. It's one of the scariest films I've ever seen, even as an adult. It simply draws too many parallels to real life, not just for me, but for a lot of people. In the end it's as if you're trapped in a maze and you can never get out. You'll never win. No matter how you think it's going to go. Every time you think you've found an exit you just find more pain. Every move you make will have an equal or over reaction and you never know.

Caine's grandfather used religion to cope. It helped him, it didn't do much good for anyone else. On one occasion he speaks with Caine and O-Dog about Exodus 20:13. In summation it simply says "thou shalt not kill." O- Dog responds with what can sum up Menace II Society and life in general for a lot of us "Sir, I don't think God cares too much about us, or he wouldn't have put us here. I mean look where we live. Its all fucked up, its messed up around here." There it is, when the hope is gone, there's nothing left to believe in and it doesn't really matter what you do, you'll never win.

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Blerd Film Club: Menace II Society Blerd Film Club: Menace II Society Reviewed by Blerds Online on Wednesday, February 06, 2019 Rating: 5

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