Critic Consensus: Chi-Raq is as urgently topical and satisfyingly ambitious as it is wildly uneven -- and it contains some of Spike Lee's smartest, sharpest, and all-around entertaining late-period work.
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as Miss Helen
as Fr. Mike Corrigan
as Mayor McCloud
as Commissioner Blades
as Ole Duke
as Major King Kong
as Big Mike
as Mr. Doctor Aesop
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Critic Reviews for Chi-Raq
Lee returns to engaging, enraged form with Chi-Raq, combining social commentary, anger, humour, dramatics and over-the-top style in a sometimes messy mix that uses every trick necessary to put a spotlight on America's poisonous love affair with guns.
Lee's film is worth seeing for its bombastic excess and camo-clad dance scenes. But if you're looking for tactful visual responses to the Black Lives Matter movement and the effects of police brutality, this isn't it.
It's messy in places, as Lee's movies tend to be. But there isn't a moment that Chi-Raq isn't alive. This is a deeply serious, biting picture that also has joy in its heart.
You long for "Chi-Raq" to succeed. Sad to report, it's an awkward affair, stringing out its tearful scenes of mourning, and going wildly astray with its lurches into farce.
Audience Reviews for Chi-Raq
Chi-Raq is directed and co-written by Spike Lee, and it stars Nick Cannon, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Jennifer Hudson, Angela Bassett, John Cusack, and Samuel L. Jackson in a satirical musical that's based on an old comedy called Lysistrata by Aristophanes. It's about a girl who's boyfriend's name is Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon), and he keeps going on a battle with Cyclops (Wesley Snipes). Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) had enough of it, and so she brought her crew to the other team where they make an alliance with each other that if they stop "hanging out" with their boyfriends, then the guys will eventually stop. I was looking forward to this as it's been a long time that Spike Lee directed a film that critics like. I managed to rent it for free, and while it took some getting used to at first, it's a great movie. The acting is really good, and it's smarter than I thought was going to be. The characters are well developed, and it has a great message. When I realize about the style that the movie was going for, it took a while for me to get used to, which made the beginning of the film a rough sit for me and was not quite getting what the critics were talking about. Half the songs I thought were good, and the other half are not really of my taste. The writing by Spike Lee and Kevin Willmott was interesting as it was mostly rap lines, and it strangely works and I was understanding about what they were saying. There were a lot of funny moments for me, and when it got to the middle, the film was starting to win me over. I'm sure Chi-Raq is not up there as one of Spike Lee's best movies, but it's an enjoyable film that I'm glad to see a good film from him, and not an awful film like the director's remake of Oldboy.
An admirable failure. Essentially the problem is that the film clumsily moves between very broad (and mostly unfunny) comedy and really earnest emotional pleas for change without any consistency. It's hard to fault Lee too much for trying something so bold, but this movie simply doesn't work.
I guarantee you won't see a movie as unique as this this year. Probably Spike Lee's finest to date. With a very powerful message against US gun crime. With a definite and unique flavour, where everyone raps as they speak, this is very entertaining.
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