New York Times - 05/26/1993
"...A very flashy debut....Crackling ensemble acting..."
Rolling Stone - 07/08/1993
Variety - 05/17/1993
"...Fierce, violent and searing in its observation, the film makes all previous excursions seem like a walk in the park....There is a poetry to the images that is immediate and visceral..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 05/26/1993
"...As well-directed a film as you'll see from America this year, an unsentimental and yet completely involving story of a young man who cannot see a way around his fate..."
Uncut - 09/01/2004
"Along with BOYZ N THE HOOD, this marks the film world's awakening to a dark period of gang violence in early-'90s LA."
Vivid documentary-like anecdotes focusing on a homeboy who is a sociopathic killer and another who tells the story of how their parents' lives also fed the cycle of drug use, casual homicide and monstrous, mind-numbing violence.
The place is Watts, but it could be any urban area blighted by guns and poverty. The person is 18-year-old Caine, but he could be any young man in the 'hood. The movie could only be Menace II Society, the bravura, uncompromising look at Caine's spiral ? from missed opportunities to inescapable missteps ? into the inner-city cycle of hate and death. The filmmaking duo The Hughes Brothers (Dead Presidents, From Hell) made their feature debut with this urgent instant classic now available in a compelling Extended Director's Cut. The actors (including Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate and Jada Pinkett) electrify. The pace sears. And Menace II Society hits with an emotional impact that will leave you stunned.
When Caine and O-Dog, two handsome boyz-from-the-hood, breeze into a Korean grocery, the anxious grocer and his watchful wife find their imposing presence troubling. Resentful of the sharp-eyed survelliance and air of suspicion around them, Caine and O-Dog yell epithets at the mom-and-pop owners. Angered by the shouting match and a remark about his mother, trigger-happy O-Dog shoots the grocers. On his way out, Caine grabs the videotape from the store's security camera. Back in the 'hood, O-Dog makes a boastful ritual of showing the tape to friends who find his recklessness funnier than amateur night at the Apollo. But it's just a matter of time before the cops catch up with Caine and O-Dog, especially since Caine's fingerprints were on the 40-ounce bottle he dropped at the scene of the crime.
Coming Of Age |
Family Interaction |
Rated MPAA R, running time 97 minutes.
Rated BBFC 18 by the British Board of Film Classification.
The Criterion Collection Special Edition laserdisc (#CC1371L) includes commentary and a number of short films by the directors, audition and rehearsal footage, storyboards, stills, production information, and the original theatrical trailer. Additionally, this version is the uncut directors' cut of the film, which features footage missing from the theatrical release.