WOW Time flies by so quick these days! It seemed just like yesterday when I seen Menace. As a kid growing up, I always wanted to see this movie but couldn’t because for one I was under aged to see it at the theaters and #2. My parents were very strict on what I watched on Television during that time period. So after hearing about it from my peers for months and months at school, I wanted to find a way to see it.
I went to my cousin who so happen to have it on bootleg Cassette and I was delighted to say the least. The Hughes brothers did a magnificent job of taking the viewer on a roller coaster ride to what be happening in South Central.
Much like John Singleton with Boyz in the Hood, The Hughes brothers wanted to bring the action/drama to you in the beginning. While many film makers take the time to build their character throughout the movie, They wasted no time into introducing us into the every day violence within the South Central starting with the infamous Liquor store shooting orchestrated by lead characters Odog and Caine.
(The original cast)
What many people didn’t know was that the part of O Dog and Caine were intended for Tupac Shakur and Spice 1. But Tupac had a qualm with his role with him being a muslim/drug dealer and preferred to play O Dog. Both were eventually fired from the movie and replaced by Tyrin Tyler and Lorenz Tate due to Tupac assaulting both brothers. Even though I would have loved to have seen Pac and Spice take the lead roles, Tyler and Tate still delivered superb performances as their roles.
Another one of the controversal factors about this movie is the fair share of Dirty langauge and violence. Menace is by far alot more violent movie than Boyz in tha hood and the messages that are displayed within the movie are not as potent as shown in Boyz in the Hood(Which lead to huge criticism from the black community)The intentions of the movie wasn’t to be political or to show a peace treaty.
It was to paint a picture of life in the everyday ghetto from Car jacking(Caine getting car jacked), Poker games gone deadly(Samuel Jackson killing his friend at his house) Police brutality(Caine and Shariff getting beat down), Everyday murder(Caused by Caine’s friends Wax and O Dog) along side Baby mama drama(Caine and Arleena)which eventually led to deadly consequences.
This is the movie where Jada Pinkett really shines as her role as Ronnie. Ronnie was Pernell(who introduced Caine into the dope game)love interest who got served a lifetime prison term and left as a single mother to raise their son. Caine showing loyalty to Pernell would offer to check on them and give them money if they needed it. Ronnie would then develop deep feelings for Caine and want to build a future together by strongly pursauding him to leave South Central and the street life alone. Her performance is very strong and passionate. You can feel it within every scene
What people don’t realize is Caine is truly a knucklehead but O Dog makes him look like a saint. Larenz Tate really came into his own as the Young, reckless and in many times hilarious O Dog character. Especially during the Drive by scene.
Despite the graphic langauge and brutal violence, The public perception was highly positive of the film. The Hip Hop Community embraced it and the Soundtrack to the movie became one of the best albums to have dropped in 1993, Sparring out hits such as Spice One’s Trigga got no Heart and MC Eiht’s biggest hit Streight up Menace.
Menace may not hit on a conscious level like Boyz N the hood but the messages are far and between throughout. If you have a opportunity to make it out the ghetto, Take it! It’s like Mr Butler message to Caine and Shariff in regards to the state of black men: The HUNT is on and you’re the prey!