Rated: R For violence. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: May 26, 1993 Released by: New Line Cinema
No excuses are made for Caine (Tyrin Turner); he pays for his violent young life at an early age. The story, written by Allen and Albert Hughes, is reminiscent of the 30s gangster films in which the environment affected a good kid and he went wrong. The difference in Menace is the environment is not held as an excuse, just simply as a fact.
Caine's parents are drug addicts and his father commits murder in front of eight-year-old Caine. His only stable relationship is with his grandparents, who bring him up and encourage him. They also preach religion constantly at him.
The seemingly unemotional violence of murder surrounds Caine's life and even more so his friend O-Dog (Larenz Tate). Their descent into the numbing world of casual murder, drugs and alcohol accelerates as time passes. Society around them has no stability and heir hate strikes out at whoever is nearest. There is some awareness of racial difference but their victims are mostly black.
Not a pleasant film, but one that commands attention both in the performance and the power of the script. The Hughes brothers force us to look closely at the young men who are so often wasted in our society.
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