Set It Off (1996)



Critic Consensus: It may not boast an original plot, but Set It Off is a satisfying, socially conscious heist film thanks largely to fine performances from its leads.

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Movie Info

The sophomore film effort from music video director F. Gary Gray, Set It Off is a crime thriller about four women bank robbers from a housing project in L.A. Ever since her parents' death, Stony (Jada Pinkett Smith) has had to act as a parent to her little brother Stevie (Chaz Lamar Shepard). She works in various capacities to make a future for him at U.C.L.A. Cleo (Queen Latifah) is a butch lesbian who wants nothing more than to customize her classic car. Tisean (Kimberly Elise) is a painfully shy single mother to her son Jajuan, struggling to make ends meet. Frankie (Vivica A. Fox) is the stylish bank teller who gets fired in the opening scene and ends up working with the other three at a janitorial service owned by irritating boss Luther (Thomas Jefferson Byrd). With Frankie upset from her unjust firing, Stony angry from the wrongful killing of her brother, and Tisean losing her baby to the child protective services, the four friends are motivated to rob a bank themselves. Looking for thrills, Cleo gets some guns from Black Sam (Dr. Dre in a cameo role), and they pull off their first job without a hitch. Their success starts a trend and they rob other banks in the area, all the while being investigated by Detective Strode (John C. McGinley). In a romantic subplot, Stony finds romance with wealthy Harvard-educated Keith (Blair Underwood) before the violent chase-scene ending. ~ Andrea LeVasseur, Rovi
R (adult situations/language, nudity, sex, violence)
Action & Adventure , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
New Line Home Entertainment


Vivica A. Fox
as Frankie
John C. McGinley
as Det. Strode
Ella Joyce
as Det. Waller
as Lorenz
Edmond Schaff
as Mr. Zachery
Dr. Dre
as Black Sam
Gordon Embry
as Doctor
Charles Walker
as Captain Fredricks
Jeris Poindexter
as Pete Rodney
Tamara Clatterbuck
as Luther's Girlfriend
Tonia Rowe
as Waitress
Mark Thompson
as TV Anchor
Twain Tyler
as Detective
Walter Robles
as Homeless Man
Brantley Bush
as Bank Customer
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Critic Reviews for Set It Off

All Critics (24) | Top Critics (7)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Influenced by Thelma & Louise and Waiting to Exhale, this well-crafted Girls N the Hood has social conscience and soul; Queen Latifah gives a career-making performance that should made her a big Hollywood star

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Set It Off

The Only Breaks You Get Are the Ones You Take. Stoney (Jada Pinkett Smith), Cleo (Queen Latifah), Frankie (Vivica A. Fox) and Tisean (Kimberly Elise) have been close friends for years living in the Los Angeles ghetto; each of them struggles with economic and emotional hardships. Fed-up with how life has knocked them around, and desperate to escape the ghetto, the four friends decide to resort to robbing banks. But what begins as a daring plan to make some extra cash soon grows out of control, as the four of them test the limits of their friendship with the police hot on their trail. There were some great moments in this film, particularly among the four principal characters culminating into a nice finale. Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Deb S
Deb S

Super Reviewer


Pretty decent heist movie.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

chicks rob banks and then they die

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

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