Wrecking Crew (1999)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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Curiously, this awful film has one salient good point-- the soundtrack's rap lyrics nicely parallel the character's struggle in any given scene, and provide an underlying video montage like quality to this rather chaotic affair. Let's face it. Rap music is incredibly limited in its range of emotion and subject matter, but here, it rather works, simply because there is absolutely nothing else for the viewer to focus on. This film is a technical abortion, with muddy sound, and an absurdly grainy film texture added in post, which was apparently meant to hide low production values, and a lighting so grotesque it appears to be an intentional distressing of the handsome black male leads with curiously manicured coifs. In most of the scenes, the beauty is successfully covered up-- the players often look like they've been embalmed, screwed, fried, and freeze-dried. There is only one location in the entire film-- an abandoned warehouse. The characters muddle through from room to room, fighting "the cartel," and mysterious demons who never really appear. Like the actors in this low budget fever dream, these characters don't seem to know where they are, or who they're after. The book lacks any subplot, any B or C story line, We're always with the main characters-- Sly, Hakiem and Josef, a holdover from the first of the Urban Trilogy called Urban Menace, another headache of a film. Here, there is no clear antagonist, and many of the characters lack any convincing detail which might root them in a Detroit warehouse in early Winter. The screenplay just reeks of extended arguments, duplicate conversations, clumsy improvised dialogue, further tainted by low budget wide shots of up to two minutes in length, with no closeup in sight. Actors struggle to fill up the missing logic and canyon-like pauses with confused facial expressions, and stage business in an effort to say, "There's got to be some point of focus in this dramatic action here, and if we get to the end of this scene and there isn't one, I'm going to make one up if I have to!" The lack of story put extra pressure on the improvising actors to build meaning into this absurd excuse for Black gunfights in a warehouse. As the scenes wear on, you can see that the actors give up, and one of them even appears to be replaced at the end of the film with a lookalike actor. Most unforgivably, however, is the cameo preamble footage of Snoop Dogg in an apparent on camera interview where he mumbles sheepishly about the origins of rap music, and the parties responsible. This preamble has absolutely nothing to do with the narrative of the film, and belongs as an extra feature. Couldn't they get Snoop to say, "The syndicate has some house cleaning to do. And we're going to do it right now"? If they could have wrangled him to say that, it may have given some credence to the story idea that these two local bands of brothers were fighting some larger organized syndicate. Then again, maybe Snoop was wise to steer clear of the twisted story here, after all.
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