This inner-city crime melodrama, set in Watts, is a speedy, violent, adolescent-cynical take on the no-hope lives of young black men. The filmmakers-twenty-one-year-old twins Allen and Albert Hughes-aren't interested in the tragic irony of the classic gangster film; they aim, instead, for the throwaway, life-is-cheap tone of grimy fifties B-pictures. They move from horror to horror in a businesslike, deadpan way that reflects, with frightening conviction, the thoroughness of their characters' alienation. The Hugheses are so scrupulous, so comprehensive, in their refusal to do the usual things that they leave themselves short on expressive options. As the picture goes along, you actually start to wish it were a little squarer, that the filmmakers would give you something more to hold on to than the grinding pulp momentum that substitutes here for true dramatic structure. The Hugheses achieve some brilliant and memorable sequences, and the lack of sentimentality is a step in the right direction; but the movie winds up running in place. With Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, Jada Pinkett, Vonte Sweet, Glenn Plummer, Bill Duke, Charles S. Dutton, and Samuel L. Jackson. Screenplay by Tyger Williams; cinematography by Lisa Rinzler. -Terrence Rafferty

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Menace II Society (1993)

R

Drama/Crime · 1h 37m · 5/27/1993

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Description

This inner-city crime melodrama, set in Watts, is a speedy, violent, adolescent-cynical take on the no-hope lives of young black men. The filmmakers-twenty-one-year-old twins Allen and Albert Hughes-aren't interested in the tragic irony of the classic gangster film; they aim, instead, for the throwaway, life-is-cheap tone of grimy fifties B-pictures. They move from horror to horror in a businesslike, deadpan way that reflects, with frightening conviction, the thoroughness of their characters' alienation. The Hugheses are so scrupulous, so comprehensive, in their refusal to do the usual things that they leave themselves short on expressive options. As the picture goes along, you actually start to wish it were a little squarer, that the filmmakers would give you something more to hold on to than the grinding pulp momentum that substitutes here for true dramatic structure. The Hugheses achieve some brilliant and memorable sequences, and the lack of sentimentality is a step in the right direction; but the movie winds up running in place. With Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, Jada Pinkett, Vonte Sweet, Glenn Plummer, Bill Duke, Charles S. Dutton, and Samuel L. Jackson. Screenplay by Tyger Williams; cinematography by Lisa Rinzler. -Terrence Rafferty

Where to Watch

Status

Released

Language

English

Country

United States

Production Company

New Line Cinema

Budget

$3,500,000

Revenue

$27,900,000
Part Of
Cast
Person Photo

Rolando Molina

Vato #1
Person Photo

Clifton Collins Jr.

Vato #2 (as Clifton Gonzalez Gonzalez)
Person Photo

Tony Valentino

Vato #3
Person Photo

Daniel Villarreal

Vato #4 (as Danny Villarreal)
Person Photo

Yolanda 'Yo-Yo' Whittaker

Girl at Party (as Yo Yo)
Person Photo

Samuel Monroe Jr.

Ilena's Cousin
Person Photo

Robert Gatewood

Gang Member (uncredited)
Person Photo

Karolyn Grimes

Zuzu Bailey in 'It's a Wonderful Life' (archive footage) (uncredited)
Person Photo

James Stewart

George Bailey (archive footage) (uncredited)
Person Photo

Tyrin Turner

Caine
Person Photo

Larenz Tate

O-Dog
Person Photo

June Kyoto Lu

Grocery Store Woman (as June Kyoko Lu)
Person Photo

Toshi Toda

Grocery Store Man
Person Photo

Samuel L. Jackson

Tat Lawson
Person Photo

Anthony Johnson

Tony
Person Photo

Brandon Hammond

Five Year Old Caine
Person Photo

Glenn Plummer

Pernell
Person Photo

Reginald Ballard

Clyde
Person Photo

Khandi Alexander

Karen Lawson
Person Photo

Eugene Lee

Man #1
Person Photo

James Pickens Jr.

Man #2 (as James Pickins Jr.)
Person Photo

Nancy Cheryll Davis

Teacher (as Nancy Cheryl Davis)
Person Photo

Jullian Roy Doster

Anthony
Person Photo

Jada Pinkett Smith

Ronnie (as Jada Pinkett)
Person Photo

Marilyn Coleman

Grandmama
Person Photo

Arnold Johnson

Grandpapa
Person Photo

Saafir

Harold Lawson
Person Photo

Pooh Man

Doc
Person Photo

Mc Eiht

A-Wax
Person Photo

Vonte Sweet

Sharif
Person Photo

Ryan Williams

Stacy
Person Photo

Cynthia Calhoun

Jackee
Person Photo

Garen Holman

Junior
Person Photo

Joy Matthews

Nurse #1
Person Photo

Clifton Powell

Chauncy
Person Photo

Too $hort

Lew-Loc
Person Photo

Christopher M. Brown

Lloyd
Person Photo

Stacy Arnell

Deena
Person Photo

Dwayne Barnes

Basehead
Person Photo

Ian Davids

Insurance Man (as Dave Kirsch)
Person Photo

Alvin Mears

K-9 Police Officer
Person Photo

Bill Duke

Detective
Person Photo

Robert Gonzales

Car Dealer (as Robert R. Gonzales)
Person Photo

Martin Davis

Car-Jack Victim
Person Photo

Erin Wiley Sands

Ilena (as Erin Leshawn Wiley)
Person Photo

Charles S. Dutton

Mr. Butler
Person Photo

Charles J. Grube

Officer Fassel
Person Photo

Mike Kelly

Officer Gadd
Crew
Person Photo

Albert Hughes

Director
Person Photo

Allen Hughes

Director
Person Photo

Allen Hughes

Writer
Person Photo

Albert Hughes

Writer
Person Photo

Tyger Williams

Writer
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Disc Releases
Disc Title Front Cover

Menace II Society

(LaserDisc)

Disc Title Front Cover

Menace II Society

(DVD)

10/22/1997

Disc Title Front Cover

Menace II Society

(DVD, Keep Case (Std.))

9/8/2009

Disc Title Front Cover

Menace II Society

(4K Ultra HD, Digipack)

11/23/2021

$32.87 -$17.08 (34%)

Disc Title Front Cover

Menace II Society

(Blu-ray, Box)

11/23/2021

Disc Title Front Cover

Menace II Society

(Blu-ray, Keep Case (HD Slim, Low))

9/8/2009

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