Set it Off "DVD"
Even when it misses a dramatic opportunity in favor of generic action, Set It Off benefits from a sharp understanding of its well-drawn central characters.
They're a quartet of young African American women in Los Angeles (Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Kimberly Elise), all struggling against a system that seems designed to prevent them from realizing their dreams.
The movie establishes their plight with credible attention to emotional detail, making their decision to rob banks believable enough to give the ensuing plot its inevitably tragic momentum.
Co-written by the screenwriter of What's Love Got to Do With It?
The film conveys genuine compassion for its characters, and the ensemble cast is uniformly strong--especially Queen Latifah as a brash lesbian whose fate is as certain as her forceful attitude.
Set It Off expresses a real sense that these women have been close friends for years, and that gives the film additional impact, even when their transition to crime and violence feels somewhat forced and superficial. A romantic subplot involving Pinkett and a social-climbing banker (Blair Underwood) is too contrived to be convincing, and director F. Gary Gray (Friday) tries too hard to combine hard-hitting action with social relevance (a weakness shared by Gray's following film, The Negotiator).
Still, Set It Off effectively avoids passing judgment; its emotional complexity transcends simple notions of right and wrong, injecting vitality--and a kind of renegade integrity--into the traditions of a familiar plot
Starring: Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah
Director: F. Gary Gray
Encoding: Region 1 (US and Canada only)
Format: Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen
Rated: R Not for sale to persons under age 18.
Studio: New Line Studios
Music video "Let it Go" by Ray J
Full-screen and wide-screen anamorphic formats
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