Movie Review • Menace II Society is your typical 90’s “hood” movie but will have you pondering hours after watching it. Directed by the Hughes brother, this film was very similar to other 90’s hood films but there was something different that stuck to you like cold grits. Very similar scenarios but not many predictable scenes like some of the predecessor hood films.
Larenz Tate got his acting debut as O-Dog, a ruthless teen that had no regard to human life. He didn’t even honor the code of “kids & elders are off limits.” If you were in his way, there could be a bullet coming your way. There aren’t too many roles where I’ve hated Larenz but him as O-Dog is at the top of the list. He truly flexed his acting skills for his debut and will forever be a menace as O-Dog. Unfortunately, a lot of people either know or have known people like O-Dog. There was no hope for them, you knew they would eventually end up in the dirt or in jail.
Caine played by Tyrin Turner, was the character everyone rooted for because we knew he could do better in life. He knew there was more out there but the hood was all he knew. Some of the people around him knew he was bigger than what was being given to him. He was given two options to get out but those that couldn’t see life outside the hood would just make him think the hood is the only option he had. We all know someone like Caine with a good heart but their environment keeps them from growing. Although his grandparents tried to raise him as best as they could, the streets still took him.
Tupac was almost part of this classic as Sharif but got fired which caused a physical altercation with Allen Hughes (co-director). I know Pac had just come off the wave of Juice but it was nice to see a fresh face on the screen. Menace II Society is one of the few hood films that didn’t have a rapper as one of the main characters. What they did have was some real cocaine on the table that Caine was cutting. Imagine you going on set for your scene & realize you’re about to start cutting real cocaine! I would have to gather myself because that wasn’t in my contract.
Overall, of all the 90s “hood” classic films I would probably give Menace top 5. Don’t quote me on that because it could change but after recently watching it, I really enjoyed it. The writing was admirable & the acting was 10’s across the board. Yet another 90’s film that is aging like fine wine.