[box cover]

Hot Boyz

Written and directed by platinum rap artist Master P, Hot Boyz is best approached by the white, middle class film reviewer (me) as foreign cinema. The story carries the same familiar refrain of many a popular rap song: a young black man named Kool (Silkk the Shocker) wants to be a famous rap artist. But when his pregnant girlfriend is framed for murder and killed by a crooked cop, he turns Gangsta, dealing junk and bustin' caps as the head of a powerful criminal underworld. P keeps his plot turning quickly and the melodrama brimming, and elicits some natural, mostly adequate performances from fellow rappers C-Murder and the illustrious Snoop Doggy Dogg (as well as by P himself). Although at times it may seem that paranoia and histrionics gets the better of P's screenwriting brain, obscuring story logic, it's very likely an accurate representation of how young black people feel about life and law in the L.A. hood. And as preposterous as some of the police corruption depicted may seem, this is the Ramparts Division we're talking about, and, as they've proved in real life, even the implausible is very, very possible. To P's credit, he's also got two awesome car chases in this flick, and just the right kind of pulsing, throbbing rap soundtrack to make even whitey feel like a brotha for 90 minutes. Also with a weary Gary Busey and C. Thomas Howell, both bewildered and obviously desperate for a paycheck. Full-frame 1.33:1 with 2.0 Dolby Surround. Trailer, keep case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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