Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Straight Out of Brooklyn (1991)

Urban Crime Movie #6

Synopsis: It’s like that long, lost episode of Good Times, when John Amos beats the crap out of his family, and Jimmie Walker decides to rip off the local drug dealer. 

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “Dennis Brown has reached the limit. Raised in the projects of Brooklyn, he’s trapped in a world of desperation, drugs and danger, where you learn fast to duck the druglord’s bullets and stay clear of a fight that’s not your own. His parents tell him, study hard, go to college and be patient; but Dennis Brown can’t wait any longer.” 

What Did I Learn?: If you’re going to rob the neighbourhood crack pusher in broad daylight – at gunpoint! – and he knows your crew, for fuck’s sake wear a mask!

You Might Like This Movie If: You're in the mood to see something straight out of Brooklyn...or Compton... or Surrey?!?

Really?: 1) See “What Did I Learn?”, 2) Funny how the tension within the family rises to a fever pitch, the audience expects Dennis to *finally* confront his dad about his domestic abuse, and... it never happens. 3) So wait – the only cast member who’s mentioned on the VHS jacket is Matty Rich? Come on Matty – it’s not all about you, dude. 

Rating: I have to give Straight Out of Brooklyn a decidedly mixed review. On the one hand, filmmaker Matty Rich’s (who also plays a supporting character, the loudmouth “Larry Love”) script is raw, powerful, and memorable.  Laurence Gilliard Jr. does an incredible job of portraying Dennis’ anger and frustration, and this movie never once glamourizes drugs or street crime the way Belly does. Unfortunately, long stretches of the film (especially of Ray Brown physically abusing his wife and kids) are excruciating to watch, a number of scenes go on far too long, or could have been cut altogether, and the film’s low budget (and it’s bizarre musical score) often make it feel like a TV movie-of-the-week with foul language. 6.5/10 stars.

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