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original title: Dead Presidents
duration: 1h 59min
tags: They'll risk everything for the ultimate score.
keywords: vietnamwar, 1960s, blackpanthers, newyorkcity, blackmilitant, neonoir, basedontruestory, vietnam, money, heist, teenmovie, referencetonatturner, veteran, ptsd, vomiting, machismo, carhitbyatruck, anti
Many have taken note of co-directing team Allen and Albert Hughes' referencing to their cinema heroes like Martin Scorsese and the bloody gangster classic "Scarface." Indeed, observant viewers will note the explicit bloodshed that's prevalent in "Dead Presidents" as being homage to the graphic gangster pictures of yesteryear, and that doesn't make it bad.
"Presidents" takes a look at the role that the color green played in the lives young black men before and after Vietnam. In fact, on the killing fields of good old 'Nam, mankind is seen at its absolute lowest, where soldiers on both sides of the conflict commit horrific atrocities, including a scene where a black soldier decapitates a (dead) Viet Cong and keeps the head for good luck, or when an American soldier is gutted and castrated.
Obviously, the Hughes Brothers have some real big qualms about black mens' involvement in that conflict, and the film's central character, Anthony Curtis (Larenz Tate), finds little prospects awaiting him in the Bronx after doing two tours in Vietnam.
Before he left, however, he'd impregnated his girlfriend Juanita (Rose Jackson) and while in country, he doesn't permit himself to think of what he's left behind in America. So when Anthony's forced to leave his low-paying job as a meat cutter, it's not a surprise that he's already begun plans to knock off an armored truck to get some "dead presidents," which is street slang for dollar bills.
So, together with his two involuntarily enlisted Vietnam buddies Skip (Chris Tucker) and Jose (Freddy Rodriguez), Anthony's Uncle Kirby (Keith David), Juanita's radicalized sister Delilah (N'Bushe Wright) and Cleon (Bokeem Woodbine), they proceed to knock over the truck and make way with its valuable assets.
The film is most definitely a gritty look at the "black experience" during the Civil Rights era and the Hughes Brothers certainly pay a lot more attention to the details of the picture. It's not better than "Menace," but is certainly better-made, now that they have been given a more reasonable budget.
10/10 Going off to war can be an experience no one would ever forget. But as time goes by, the effects of war can prove to be disastrous. In "Dead Presidents" a group of Vietnam Veterans try to make ends meet when they get back into civilization. The government isn't paying enough to support one vet(Larenz Tate) and his family. Then there's one vet(Chris Tucker) who's gets high and would later OD. So they go to extreme means. They get to steal money from an armored car, but carelessness and greed proved it very costly. The explosive wasn't properly tested, the blast not only blew the doors open, it burned most of the money. The tactics in the robbery was very militaristic some of them got killed, and the one will the family will be doing time in prison. Goes to show that greed will get you nowhere, fast! The title of the movie was a little off key, because Franklin and Hamilton, were not presidents. However, money itself comes in many names as well of forms. This movie will make you "green with envy". Rating 4 out of 5 stars! Dead Presidents already had problems before the theatrical release with the MPAA and some scenes had to be cut. Unfortunately, there is no available release containing these scenes. The Criterion Laserdisc release offers something in between. The raid on the money transport at the end of the film is found a second time on the LD after the complete main film. This second version contains said scenes.
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