Dead Presidents (1995)
Average Rating: 5.7/10
Reviews Counted: 31
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 17
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 6
No consensus yet.
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 29,749
Albert Hughes and his brother Allen Hughes followed their striking debut Menace II Society with this ambitious look at the social and political lives of the African-American community in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate) is a young man coming of age in the Bronx in 1968. Working two part-time jobs -- one as a milkman's helper and another for local numbers runner Kirby (Keith David) -- Anthony is torn between doing the right thing and trying to get by in a environment
Oct 6, 1995 Wide
May 19, 1998
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Dead Presidents may eventually box itself into a narrative dead end, but its muscular engagement of weighty themes and explosive situations makes it a powerful drama.
There are intriguing aspects to this yarn, and the brothers can choreograph a scene, but you get the impression that they learned all they know from other movies, the blood and guts is gratuitous...
Like those overreaching sophomore term papers we can all laugh at now, this disappointing film may free the Hughes brothers to move on to fresher, more inspired work.
What emerges is an uneasy blend of didacticism and juiced-up bloodletting (the brothers don't know when to stop with the exploding squibs) that bury the film's message and its good intentions.
Made with fluid skill and a passion for storytelling, its tale of how the Vietnam War and American society affect a black Marine remains accessible while confounding expectations.
The intense and excessive climactic set piece caper scene is the only true highlight in a superficial film.
Significant as both history and film art, this gloomy tale has no "convenient" villains and refuses to indulge in stereotypes, instead focusing on larger forces, such as racism and political apathy.
Excellent performances, a great soundtrack, and the Hughes' technical virtuosity make it worth a look.
Talent of Hughes brothers deserves viewer's attention even when their results don't meet such high standards.
Unfortunately, the filmmakers were overzealous in trying to cover a variety of issues, leaving the story choppy and without resolution in places.
All directors experience a "second-movie slump," and as far as slumps go, this one is more than honorable.
It features lots of heartache, a downer of an ending, and even some nasty bloodshed. But in the end, it just feels like they forgot to add something in there, but it still comes out as a pretty good film nonetheless.
Tate gives a strong performance as Anthony but much of this movie unfolds predictably -- the kind of action you've seen a hundred times in movies before and a thousand times on television.
The level of exaggerated violence and gore is so gross and disgusting that the film takes on a horror-movie look, which tends to undermine its intentions as a thoughtful exploration of troubled times for blacks.
The Hughes Brothers' ambition is admirable, but, as with their main character, ambition gets the better of them.
Audience Reviews for Dead Presidents
- Anthony Curtis: Life? The fuck he mean life? After all this shit I did for my motherfuckin' country? The fuck he talkin' about?
- Cleon: Your junkie ass really messed up out there.
- Skip: Don't blame me for your fuck ups.
- Cleon: I told Anthony I didn't want nothing to do with a crazy devil filled junkie!
- Skip: What?
- Cleon: You listening to me? Look at him.
- Skip: [Skip punches Cleon] Now say some more shit! I'll knock yo ass right back down. Fake ass, wannabe preacher, no members havin' motherfucker!
- Anthony Curtis: Why don't y'all stop acting like some fucking clowns.
- Anthony Curtis: The whole plan was fucked up! We ain't do shit right out there, man. Shit.
- Skip: Just tell me one thing Cleon. Why the fuck you didn't grab the cop?
- Cleon: You killed him, a young brother.
- Skip: If you wouldn't have froze up like a bitch maybe I wouldn't have to do that shit, now wouldn't I?
- Kirby: Would y'all shut the fuck up?
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