Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reviews from the Vault: Juice (1992)

In Ernest Dickerson's directorial debut, we are introduced to four power-hungry teenagers from the streets of Harlem. They're dream is to earn "juice", a term they refer to as respect and power. Q (Omar Epps) intends to achieve this goal through becoming a scratch n' mix DJ, whereas Bishop (Tupac Shakur) plans to gain respect by armed robbery. Dragging his friends down with him, Bishop has gotten this gang of friends into a situation that will not only challenge their friendship, but challenge their freedom. Perhaps one of the best performances from Tupac combined with a collection of characterizations that bring you closer to these four hoodlums than some of your own friends make this film worth the watch. Juice challenges the viewer to determine how far they would go for friendship, and at what point personal morals would interfere. By the end of the 94 minute running time, the viewer has met, familiarized, chosen a side, and authentically felt for these four young men in a way not often accomplished on the big screen. Additionally, the music of juice ultimately sets the tone, featuring songs by Salt N' Pepa, Eric B. and Rakim, Naughty by Nature, and more. The film takes a hold of you with the power of it's script and captivating era and setting, not to mention a special appearance from Queen Latifa. Juice pleases the eyes, ears, and mind, scoring 4 stars.

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