eft of wit and sharp ofanalysis. Mario \'an Peebles has a way of turning even the briefest of interviews into a masterclass on

at the poster for {Yew/tick (,‘itv.’ he points out. ‘and they don't see

Schwarzenegger with a big gun or Stallone

with a big gun. they see Wesley Snipes. In

America. where we’re used to seeing our

blacks dancing and happy like in House

Party. or joking around like Eddie Murphy.

or singing like Whitney l louston. or playing

basketball like Michael Jordan. the sight ofa

black man with a gun is like

“Wl l()()()Al ll lllf”. So they think that

.\'eiv.lack ('in is the movie that is causing all

these gang riots. when basically. iftwo gangs

meet up at Mary Poppins they'll shoot each


A snappy exploitation picture with some claims to social significance. \"an Peebles‘ Neon/ark ('itv opened in the CS last spring to unexpectedly busy cash registers. but the film soon faced a shower of moral indignation from sections of the press who implicated its violent content in the series of riotous incidents that occurred outside various screenings across the country. However. as proved to he the case with John H. Singleton's tough ghetto drama Boy: 'n' The flood (the opening week of which saw two dead in separate shooting incidents and a tiiass looting spree after a performance in Wisconsin). the initial media focus on the civil disturbances surrounding the movies soon turned into much critical attention when it became apparent how well they

subliminal racism. Flie media look :

were doing at the box office.

Scheduled to open in the UK on 6 September. NJC heralds a slew ofacclaimed new movies by post-Lee American filmmakers a grouping rather dubiously dubbed ‘The Black Pack' among them the aforementioned Boys. Bill Duke‘s Chester llimes caper A Rage In Harlem. and Hispanic-American Joseph B. Vasquez‘s rap buddy movie Hangin’ With The Homeboys. all of which are set to reach these shores over the coming months.

As part of the next wave of African-American film talent to follow Spike Lee‘s inspirational example directing commercial movies for the major studios. Van Peebles‘ is rather wry and very clear—minded on how he secured the money from Warners to make the picture in the first place. ‘In .\'ewJae/< ('in we said that the drug phenomenon wasn‘t a black thing. it wasn't a white thing. it was a death thing. Well. my statement on Hollywood is that it is definitely a white thing. it isn’t a black thing. but that most of all it‘s a green thing. It‘s the colourof money. It's the market. In the 70s the studio people would‘ve made l‘ltrow Whitey Front The Train Part I l I if they thought it was gonna make them money. and now they still don‘t really understand why these pictures are doing well. It‘s like another black guy comes out of film school and they say “Hey. he’s black. maybe he can direct! Maybe it‘s a genetic thing!"

Given that 25 per cent of US moviegoers (compared to around 12 percent ofthe population as a whole) are of

" e ;:-‘ .. .st '35 *3 6‘ 1““ NWA's Ice Cube making his blg screen debut in

Boyz 'n' The Hood.

l i l

African—American origin there's obviousl-y—l going to be some kind of a commercial impetus to make the kind of movie that represents on screen the cultural identifications and aspirations of that particular section ofsociety. But it is the widespread crossover success of rap artists as varied as MC Hammer. Public lineiny and Tone Loc in the mainstream pop charts. that are breaking down the kind of niche marketing strategies the studios have operated in catering for ethnic minorities. The musical associations of a project like Neii'Jaek City (which. for example. includes Color Me Badd‘s number one his single I Wanna Set You Up) help sell the film to a

wider audience.

Casting smart rapper Ice T as the l unconventional cop leading the mission to

shake down powerful crack baron Nino Brown (the excellent Wesley Snipes. star of Spike Lee's latest Jungle l't’l't’t'). and packing in an equally impressive quotient of Uzi fire and hot babe action. Van l’eebles has his eye on the box office right from the start. ‘I lollywood makes ’l'oial Reeall with several times the violence of .\'t'u'.la('k (’in and the kids are otit there in droves.~ explains the son of influential director Melvin Van l’eebles. whose 7lls film and musical theatre work has been a strong influence on the Spike I.ee generation.

‘l lollywood makes (illlllllll or lllt’ Killing Fields and they're not interested. What I wanted to do with this movie was to bring all that together and make what I call an


‘On the first level you have a gangster

Joseph B: Vasq'uez's Hangin'


The Black Pack? One glance althe movies currently being grouped underthe same crass label will reveal whata varied bunchthey actually are

I Boyz 'n' The Hood 33-year-old John Singleton‘s heavy duty portrayal of life in South (‘ciitral l..-\ had a higher per-screen box oflice

av cragc on its opening weekend than lt’l'lllllltllltl' 2. but the film's slogaii Increase The Peace has prevented a seriesol violent incidentsat cinemas across the [SA ('K release date: .1“ ()t t. I Hangin' With The Homeboyslosepli ii Vasquez. a l lispaiiie- American. hardly qualificsas a youngblaek filmmaker. but his hugely enjoy able tap buddy

niov ie has a lot to say on the ghetto mentality and racial prejudice without cvcrconiiiigacross as too much of a message tlick Hip. Hip. sharp. gosee, ('K rt'lt’uvt'tluli" 3.’ Mn IJungle Fever t laid lit

The list .‘sll .'\ll5“.t c


l . With The Homeboys.

thiiik of Spike l.ec asan eldei statesman. but his fifth leatiiie marksa return to the preaehy pttllllc‘al edge til [)0 lllt’ I Rte/it llitne. liltistimc ] l

inter-racial sex and the

drtig problem are the

subjects tordiscussionon

Spikes soapbox.

(‘K N'lt'tlH' tltllt" liSt’pl.

I A Rage In Harlem l'ough

guy actor Bill Duke gtiidcs

l-orrest Whitaker.

(ii‘egoi'y lliiies and Robin

‘lormer .\lrs'l ysoii‘

(iiveiisthough this

(‘hestei' l limes-inspired

eapet'ol stoleii loot.

gangland activity and

sexualayvakeiiiiig iii Slls

New \"oik.

I't'lt’tln'tltllt’ lib-(pl.

I True Identity in his lirst

l lolly wood iiiov ie. oiii

very own I eiiiiy lleiiiy

once again liasto

impersonate a while

peisoii. though thistiiiie

lie'siiot iiitpeisoiiatiiig

Steve Mai tiii but living to

escape from the mob

(‘hailesl me. u ho made

the earlier independent

comedy sileiit Sitlt'ii ink


( A lt'lt'tlH'tlJli' ."’.\tl,"t’

l.‘ Septeiiiliei I‘m! 13