A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.
Am I My Brother's Keeper...
This movie was a surprise. I remember Mario van Peeble's father's "Watermelon Man", an amusing comedy that turns anti-white about half-way through and winds up rather a racist tract. It's almost a convention in movies about African-Americans who seem destructive to themselves or others that they are turned on to dope by white guys. Or, if they retain their rectitude, it's the white guys that are at the head of the horde of local pushers. Of course white women flock to the heroes, etc. We've seen it hundreds of times. But this one is different. The majority of performers are African-Americans, both the cops and the bad guys, neither of them perfect in their goodness or their evil. The characters seem to choose their own destinies for a change. Wesley Snipes is not given a loving trophy blonde. There is a token white cop, Judd Nelson, who was my supporting player in "From the Hip," an extraordinarily good film itself, who is permitted to say, "It's not a black thing. It's not a white thing." Crack is the problem here, not race. We're all in this together, which, in these days, is a pretty progressive statement. It's strictly a genre film. There is craftsmanship in it, if no noticeable attempt at depth, but it's well and stylishly done too. Van Peebles knows how to place the camera and when to cut. The performances are excellent for a film of this type. Snipes especially is a fine physical actor. It winds up with the expected shootout in an empty warehouse or factory. I'd kind of put off seeing this on TV, afraid of wincing through the prejudices I anticipated being expressed, and I was pleasantly surprised to find them completely absent here.
- Sep 3, 2002
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