8:00 PM, 25th October, 2013
Say what you will about director Michael Bay, there’s no denying that no one does carefully calculated cinematic chaos and destruction – a style best described as ‘Bay-hem’ – better. Having gone on to direct such smash-em-up hits as The Rock, Armageddon and the Transformers trilogy, this film is where it all began.
Starting out directing commercials and music videos, Bay made his feature directorial debut in 1995 with Bad Boys, teaming up with two other stars of the small screen – Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, at the time still best known as TV’s “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” – to deliver a violent, foul-mouthed, riotous romp of a film.
The plot (or what resembles it) revolves around two best friends and detectives (Lawrence and Smith) in the narcotics division of the Miami Police Department. When a daring overnight heist removes the takings of the biggest drug bust of their careers from a secure police vault, the duo must recover the $100 million in seized heroin or risk their entire division being shut down. The investigation leads to an eyewitness on the run (Leoni), a French drug lord, swapped identities, gunfights, car chases and, of course, plenty of the frenetic visual style and breakneck editing that Bay has since made his trademark.
One of the defining action movies of the 1990s, Bad Boys may be a textbook example of that decade’s focus on style over substance, but at least in the hands of Michael Bay, it all looks pretty damn good!
10:14 PM, 25th October, 2013
After he becomes too much for his single mother (Bassett) to handle, 10 year old Tre Styles is sent to live with his father Furious (Fishburne) in south-central LA's notorious Crenshaw neighbourhood in the hopes that a firm-but-fair fatherly hand can straighten him out and teach the otherwise bright boy some respect. There he makes friends with a neighbouring pair of brothers, ‘Doughboy’ and Ricky, as well as Chris; together they get a glimpse of gang life in the neighbourhood when they find a dead gang member in an alley and are bullied by gang members.
Fast forwarding seven years we re-join the friends. Tre (Gooding, Jr), Ricky (Morris Chestnut) and Chris (Redge Green) are attending a welcome home party for Doughboy (Ice Cube), who has just been released from his first stint in the big house. Though Doughboy is desperately trying to leave gang life behind, his past demons won't leave him alone and his friends get caught in the crossfire.
Coincidentally releasing a few short months after the Rodney King beatings shocked America, and the western world at large, Boyz n the Hood painted a picture of life in the American ghettos in an honest fashion at a time when the American middle class were ready to lap it up – some have described the movie as 20% blaxploitation, 80% social commentary. The movie was an amazing feat for writer/director John Singleton who made the film on a very modest budget fresh out of film school. In the process he became the youngest filmmaker ever to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar, produced a film that sits in the Library of Congress National Film Registry, is one of the “1001 films to see before you die” and a staple at film schools the world over.