Boyz n the Hood (1991)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Boyz n the Hood</strong> (1991)

(On Blu-Ray, December 2015) There have been so many imitators and spiritual successors to Boyz n the Hood (all the way to 2015’s Dope) that it can be hard today to see the film as it must have appeared in 1991, abruptly bringing South Central L.A. to the suburban multiplex.  But revisiting the film is more than worth it even twenty-five years later, because John Singleton’s debut feature has the kind of depth and subtlety that most of its imitators forgot about.  It’s a film dominated by crime, for instance, but it is not primarily a criminal film: The drama is strong, multifaceted and the film never loses sight that its authority figure (Lawrence Fishburne, in a terrific role) is right in counseling his son to stay away from even the slightest disregard for the law.  The rest of the cast is fantastic, from Angela Basset to Ice Cube to Cuba Gooding Jr. to Nia Long.  The film stock grain is obvious on the Blu-Ray disc, but the film is shot cleanly and features a number of sly visual jokes, from the first STOP sign to Reagan references.  No doubt about it: Boyz n the Hood remains an impressive piece of work despite time and imitators.

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