Saturday, May 11, 2013

Endangered Species: A 20th Anniversary Retrospective of ‘Menace II Society’ (Part 1)

Part 1: The Tender Trio

There’s nothing more deflating than a revolution that peaks before it can effect real change.  So it was with the Black film renaissance of the early 1990’s.  That resurgence was largely spurred on by the popularity of so-called “hood” movies.  In March of 1991, the Neo-Blaxploitation flick New Jack City roared out of the gate with both guns blazing.  Alarmist ravings from fear mongering media pundits stoked audience curiosity, turning the film into a sizable hit.  In July of that same year, Boyz n the Hood brought some much needed prestige to the emerging subgenre.  It was honored with two Oscar nominations at the 64th Academy Awards.  Seemingly overnight, Hood films had become the order of the day.  In May of 1993, a bold new entry to that rapidly expanding cannon upped the ante to explosive levels.  What it lacked in subtlety, it made up for with menace.