Juice (1992) Review

juice

RATING: 3.5/5

[SPOILERS]

The life of four New York City teens grows more perilous when one assumes power in an ugly way.

A debut for both director Ernest R. Dickerson and Tupac Shakur’s acting career, to which both shine through.

The introductions to the four main characters were good at showing who each one was and the different settings that each one resided in. The apartment montage sequence at the beginning did well at this and it only continued some when the film went into a portion of their daily lives.

I do wish there were more scenes of their families and themselves frankly. One saw them in the beginning and they don’t make an impact for the rest. It probably would have helped at building a stronger connection.

Honestly, the best character in the movie was Bishop, played by the late 2Pac. He had the arc that one could gravitate toward when it came to his motivations and how well he delivered in certain scenes. Ones like the school hallway scene really demonstrate the man’s acting ability. His good delivery made him at times appear threatening and dangerous. One would get on edge as to what particular action he was going to commit next.

The rest of the “Wrecking Crew” do pretty good in their roles. They gave funny moments from time to time and definitely gave heart-wrenching stuff whenever something serious went down. When Bishop turned to the dark side, one didn’t want to see the rest of the crew get hurt by him. As far as the rest of the cast, they do fine; it was hit or miss at points. Sure Samuel L. Jackson was present but again this was before being well-known, pre “Pulp-Fiction. The same went for Queen Latifah.

The music here was good. The DJ scenes from GQ were nicely done.

When it came to the style, it was interesting in that it took on characteristics similar to that of noir. During the nighttime scenes, the film displayed heavy shadows and that was when one saw how grimy and dirty the city was once the sun went down. It for sure looked the part with its dark and unpleasant setting.  There was a cool moment where Bishop (2Pac) came out of the darkness, which was another thing about the character’s dangerous nature.

What the film did was demonstrate how one can get carried away for achieving too much power. In this case, it was understandable. Bishop wanted more power and respect in his life. He lived in an apartment where his father wasn’t doing well, he got pestered by street gangs, and he was always running from the cops.

One of the lines of dialogue that I remembered by Jackson’s character, Trip, was how he knew a lot of the characters when they were kids, not they turned into murderers. I liked this because it boiled down to one simple conclusion, they were all black. There was the side where one wanted to gain respect by force, while the other did so by keeping silent and laying low. That’s in the film and it translates well in the real world. There are black people right now who wish to use force to get what they want and they are black people who use peace and understanding to reach the rest of the world. All of this stemming from the fact that many minorities are treated unfairly by society and all the hate needs to be put to an end.

The movie delivered good acting, showcased a cool visual style, had good characters, and the hard emotional struggles were there. This film demonstrated how violence was not the way to go when handling problems. How one should find another route to combating the issues of race and earning recognition.

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