Set It Off


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

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Critic Reviews for Set It Off

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (7)

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

Jan 12, 2007 | Rating: B
Top Critic

Overlong, overdone and overwrought, the narratively challenged Set It Off gets off on exploitation shock and social-conscience schlock in equal measure.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4
USA Today
Top Critic

Friends rob banks in '90s adventure; violence, cursing.

Jan 23, 2019 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Despite Gray's galvanic ability with action sequences, there are very few surprises to be found in Set It Off

Jul 30, 2009 | Rating: 2/5

One of the rare movies sporting great action sequences and a ring of truth.

Apr 9, 2007 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

A tense, original caper film full of excellent performances, particularly by Queen Latifah

Sep 17, 2004 | Rating: 4/5

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


Good movie. I love Queen Latifah.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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