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Menace II Society (1993)



Average Rating: 7.4/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 61,706

My Rating

Movie Info

This debut offering from twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes was one of the most critically-acclaimed urban crime films to appear in the wake of John Singleton's influential Boyz N the Hood. Set in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, the film is narrated by 18-year-old Caine (Tyrin Turner), a drug dealer and car thief who lives with his religious grandparents. After graduating from high school, Caine shows no ambition beyond hanging out with his friends, so his grandparents kick him out.


Drama, Action & Adventure


Jul 3, 2001

Warner Bros.

Watch It Now


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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (5) | DVD (2)

Don't let the silly styling of the title put you off; this is a powerful, convincing, and terrifying look at teenage crime in contemporary Watts.

March 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bleak, brilliant, and unsparing: a full-scale vision of the madness that is tearing up the black inner city.

March 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
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Fierce, violent and searing in its observation, the film makes previous excursions seem like a stroll through the park.

March 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
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Regrettably, the Hughes brothers' first feature is a compendium of clichés.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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If Menace II Society is terrific on ambiance, it is considerably less successful in revealing character.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Nothing the Hughes brothers have done in their videos for Tone Loc, Tupac Shakur and others prepares you for the controlled intensity and maturity they bring to their stunning feature debut.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Hughes brothers' debut is an exhilarating urban nightmare.

March 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

An impressive first feature from the 21-year-old twin brother directing team of Albert and Allen Hughes.

March 17, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

The most stunning feature debut in the new African-American cinema, even more so than Boyz N the Hood to which the coming-of age feature bears thematic resemblance.

December 27, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

It makes the Hood seem worse than Vietnam.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Um retrato impiedoso (e real) de uma sociedade preconceituosa, injusta e massacrante que transforma jovens em ameaças e que, infelizmente, é encontrada em todo o mundo.

April 18, 2005
Cinema em Cena

Stylistically the film is brilliant, making repeat viewings highly appealing.

November 6, 2004

One of greatest filmmaking achievements of the 1990s.

September 16, 2003 Full Review

Strong stuff, but the film-making's a little rough around the edges.

May 23, 2003
New Times

A more honest and better made movie than any of the other group of films made about black neighborhoods in the early 90's.

April 28, 2003
KFOR Channel 4 News

A classic film! Introduced mainstream America to the dangers of blowjobs.

December 22, 2002
Juicy Cerebellum

An important American film, in the way it's both artistically achieved and representative of a reality.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Montreal Film Journal
Montreal Film Journal

One of the few films to follow "Boyz" that actually had something new to add.

July 26, 2002

To be sure, it's in an influential and powerful story -- but it comes off as considerably more shallow than the reality it claims to portray.

January 25, 2002 Full Review Source:

In the end, it's about life and death, and all the choices we make in between.

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

Audience Reviews for Menace II Society

Back in my days of school I heard of this film but knew nothing of it. It was commonly known as a 90's video nasty and was the talk of the town alongside other similar gangster films. The difference with these films over other horror video nasties was this genre was realistic and possibly influential to us kids, or so the grown ups said.

The film itself isn't exactly anything amazing really, just days in the life of some young street hoods as they commit crimes and generally arse about. What makes it so strong is the fact its so well made with amazingly good direction and gritty visuals you'd think an experienced directed was behind it.

So the fact this is a directional debut from the Hughes brothers is really quite impressive, the fact they managed to gather a damn good cast is also impressive. From Sam Jackson and Larenz Tate to Charles Dutton and Bill Duke, add to that many familiar character actors such as Clifton Collins in a minor role.

Of course the reason behind the films infamous rap is the brutal graphic violence and the fact the word 'fudge' is used about a billion times. I thought 'Robocop' was hard ass, this takes the biscuit! but what makes this so harsh is the fact its based on reality and probably many truths and stories. Whether or not it serves to inform youngsters about the wrong roads in life I don't know, I'm sure it will and does still shock but one could also say it may influence or possibly give certain youngsters bad ideas.

This is a huge debate and solely depends on the individual naturally, some will enjoy for the wrong reasons other won't, but the Hughes brothers deserve credit for exposing the cold facts that I'm sure many are sheltered from. To be honest I can see what the brothers are doing here but at the same time I can't help but feel they are also putting young blacks in a very bad light and not helping how other people look at them. One also can't help but feel the heavy use of racial language and much black v white propaganda also fuels the fire somewhat, but I'm looking at this from a British perspective.

Dated now of course but still able to shock with its explosive sequences. Much like the Wild West this film shows how cheap life can be (or still is) within certain areas of the US, but many countries have similar issues.

Scarily realistic performances from the cast (kinda makes you wonder if they have their own experiences), powerful moments of madness and all made very well without glorifying the story by making the lead character a hero. A story of self destruction that could easily of been avoided exposing the pity and futileness of these youngsters lives. Oh and Sam Jackson is much more terrifying and badass in this than 'Pulp Fiction', even for a five minute cameo!.
September 7, 2012

Super Reviewer

This is the truth. This is what's real.

Great strong movie! Menace To Society is as hard hitting powerful as any film about the Hood is ever going to be. The opening scene was so well done I was blown away and loved it so much I would have been satisfied if that was the film even before the first 4 minutes were up and from there you are taken into this roller coater of horrific violence and Hood life. The great thing about the movie is that it shows the truth about how hard it is for some black kids growing up in a world filled with racism and crime.It also shows that some people,like "O-dog" in the movie has forgotten all about the ethics and rules in life.

This urban nightmare chronicles several days in the life of Caine Lawson, following his high-school graduation, as he attempts to escape his violent existence in the projects of Watts, CA.
August 4, 2012
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

"yea, ima git a double burger... and some fries.."
"ay, ay, nigga what da fuck i say? wit cheese, mutha fucka, wit cheese!"
July 23, 2011

Super Reviewer

just short of boyz in the hood as an urban drama with real chops, the film is a bit more reliant on entertaiment than reality than boyz in the hood is. overall however, the film also boasts great performances from nobody's and sells its message better than almost any film of this genre. worthwhile for any film fan but excellent for fans of the genre.
January 25, 2010
danny d

Super Reviewer

    1. Caine Lawson: Dog, you strapped?
    2. O-Dog: You know it!
    3. Caine Lawson: Give me your gun.
    4. O-Dog: What for?
    5. Caine Lawson: Give me the motherfucking gun.
    – Submitted by Moe J (8 months ago)
    1. Caine Lawson: My father sold dope and my mother was a heroin addict. Moms and Pops were real popular in the neighborhood. They would always be giving parties for friends of theirs who just got out of jail or was on their way to jail. They only got married 'cause I was born. My pop sometimes worked as an electrician or a cab driver or a plumber, but his main job was selling drugs. Sometimes Mom would use 'em all up before he could even sell 'em. Then he'd have to beat her up. Growing up with parents like that, I heard a lot and I saw a lot. I caught on to the criminal life real quick. Instead of keeping me out of trouble, they turned me on to it.
    – Submitted by Caesar M (14 months ago)
    1. Caine Lawson: My grandpa asked me one time if I care whether I live or die. Yeah, I do... and now it's too late.
    – Submitted by redwan a (2 years ago)
    1. Grocery Store Man: i feel sorry for your mother
    2. O-Dog: what you say about my moma
    – Submitted by Ronan B (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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