COLUMBIA TRISTAR has released an anniversary edition of “BOYZ N THE HOOD”, a terrific film from director/writer John Singleton, and marking the acting debut of Cuba Cooding Jr.
“BOYZ N THE HOOD” is one of the rare films dealing with street violence and urban struggles within the African American community that, more than being realistic, is non-exploitive as well!
Singleton wrote this film while a film student, and COLUMBIA TRISTAR was interested right away, only wanting someone else to direct. Luckily, for audiences and Singleton, he stood determined, and was eventually allowed to direct as well!
As the film opens, young Tre(Dezi Arnez Hines II) is sent to live with his father, Furious(Laurence Fishburne) because his regular troubles at school have become too much of a burden for his mom(Angela Basset) to handle. Allowing for a positive role model, “Furious” is determined to raise his son right, keeping him away(as much as possible) from the constantly growing number of troublemakers in the rough neighborhood he lives in.
Tre grows, and soon Cuba Gooding, Jr portrays him. He’s growing into a young man, determined to go to college, his best chance at escaping the South Central neighborhood, for a better life. His best friend, Ricky(Morris Chestnut) is also hoping for a chance at college, almost certain to get a football scholarship. Ricky’s brother, Doughboy(Ice Cube), is caught up with the bad element of the neighborhood, and eventually, his associations will have a climatic, regrettable effect on all of the main characters.
While there is certainly violence in the film, it’s never exploitive ala “MENACE 2 SOCIETY”, instead, it’s meticulously handled with a real sense of purpose, and its impact, profound, as it should be!
“BOYZ N THE HOOD” is a great film!
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has preserved the film’s 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with 16:9 enhancement. The image is sharp, with rich, vibrant colors. It’s noticeably better looking than the previously available dvd release. Contrast is also excellent, with deep blacks and grays.
Unfortunately, the source material used here, appears to be flawed, there are continuing scratches and dirt visible throughout many parts of the film. When compared to the Criterion Laserdisc, the colors are richer, but the laser doesn’t appear as soft as the dvd does! Fleshtones appear natural.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has presented a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround mix, and not a 5.1 remix as many were expecting! While not aggressive, there are a fair amount of surround effects at key moments, and the film’s powerful score is well complimented. Dialogue is always intelligible, although not as well balanced as on the previous release.
COLUMBIA TRISTAR has presented a lot of supplements for this release! Singleton has provided a brand new commentary for the film. As with his past commentaries, it’s terrific. Singleton is an engaging, intelligent speaker, and other directors/writers can learn from what he has to say here.
“FRIENDLY FIRE: THE MAKING OF AN URBAN LEGEND” is a lengthy documentary, mostly in retrospective, about the film’s production. There are plenty of recent interviews with all of the major cast and crew.
Two deleted scenes are also offered, and it’s arguable, although Singleton has expressed his reasoning otherwise, that it should have been included.
Two music videos are also included, as are numerous trailers.
While COLUMBIA TRISTAR sometimes finds real treasure when going back into its vaults, it occasionally finds things that should have been left. “RUBY” is one such example!