Top Banner 1

He Said, She Said Review Site


What he said:


Vince(Bill Paxton) and Don (William Sadler) are just a couple of regular guys. They are working class people. They’ve got bills to pay just like the rest of us. So when they get the opportunity to strike it rich, they go after it. They are firefighters you see and one evening while on the job, they come across this crazy old man who pulls a gun on them. They’re trying to save him from a fiery death and first thing he does is point a gun at him. How ungrateful of him. So, he’s got the gun in one hand and some newspaper clippings in the other. He’s rambling something about Jesus, how he’s sorry for something, and how he never told anybody anything. Sounds like the confessions of a dying man, huh? Then he thrusts the papers into their hands, and runs into the fire to meet his maker, which was hilarious by the way.

After the dust settles, they start going through the pile of papers he gave them. Amongst the items in the pile is a gold cross. The articles mention something about a church being robbed of several valuable items years ago. They quickly figure out that the old man was a part of a group that robbed the church when they were younger and were never caught. He stashed the items in a building he used to live in and was even nice enough to draw a map. The two of them decide to go check it out.

The building is a few hundred miles away in St. Louis. It’s far, but not a problem. The real issue is where it’s located. The building is in a secluded part of the ghetto. At first, it seems ideal. They don’t really want to brag about the fact that they are looking for buried treasure.


Problems start to arise when they witness a murder. A gang – led by King James (Ice T) – has planned a meeting in this secluded area. They are attempting to catch a rat in their group. They suspect one of their own of betrayal and have set up a meeting with him to straighten the situation out. He has taken King James’ brother Lucky (De’voreaux White) as a hostage to ensure his safety during these negotiations.  It doesn’t work out in his favor, as it is his murder the two firefighters witness. The gang, not wanting any witnesses, immediately starts shooting at them, but not before Don grabs Lucky (ironic nickname) and the three of them barricade themselves in a room.

Oh, I forgot to mention there was another person with them. Earlier in the movie, while searching the building for treasure, Don and Vince run into Bradlee (Art Evans). Bradless is a homeless man who lives in the building and was not too happy when these two white boys come in and start tearing up his floor. Despite the fact that he attacks them, the two have different ideas what to do with him. Vince simply wants to let him go, but Don just wants to shut him up, so he ties him to a chair and shoves a gag in his mouth. Vince is very against this idea. So they now have two hostages, but only one that the gang cares about.

It’s at this point in the movie where things get interesting. You’ve got the initial conflict Don and Vince have with Bradlee. That shifts to the back burner, but doesn’t really completely go away, when the gang shows up. The pressure starts to get to all three of them. Don and Vince start to crack, Bradlee wants to be untied, but he doesn’t really want to leave either, because he fears the gang is simply going to assume he’s with Don and Vince. Adding to the stress of the situation is Lucky, who tells them they’re all dead, because his brother is King James and this is his territory! You’ve got Don and Vince arguing with one another, both arguing with Bradlee, and all three of them arguing with Lucky. There’s some tension and paranoia going on here and it makes for good entertainment.

Trouble is a brewing everywhere on this night though. The gang isn’t exactly on the same page either. King James wants to play it cool. They’ve got his brother and he isn’t going to do anything to risk Lucky’s life. One of his guys, Savon, completely disagrees. Savon (Ice Cube) is a hothead. He wants to go in there guns blazing and take care of the problem quickly and violent. His loyalty to King James starts to wane as tensions rise. Wickey (Stoney Jackson) is very loyal to KJ, so he often butts heads with Savon. There’s another guy named Raymond (Bruce A. Young) who does not share the same loyalties to KJ as Wickey does. Raymond is more of a freelancer. KJ calls him in as backup because he is their weapons supplier. Raymond is not a member of the gang and could care less about Lucky. He is only involved because KJ is paying him. Just about everybody dislikes this guy. They’re criminals, but even they don’t like Raymond.  

This movie is entertaining as hell. It’s got tons of paranoia, tension, and some good action as a result of both. The acting is over-the-top at times, but it is supposed to be that way. Some of the performances are pretty legit too, even for a movie like this. Bill Paxton is probably one of my favorite actors when it comes to over-the-top performances. He just kind of owns those kind roles. This one is a classic. William Sadler is simply awesome playing unlikeable people. He was great in Die Hard 2 as the villain, disturbing as the pervert in Kinsey, and equally as entertaining as Don in this movie. Under normal circumstances, Don doesn’t seem like a bad guy. But the second things start to get hairy, Don turns into somebody out of the Wild West. He gets jittery and his moral compass goes right out the window. Art Evans (Die Hard 2) was hilarious as Bradlee. He just wants these two white MFers to get out of his “home”, but is forced to form an uneasy alliance with them when the gang shows up. Ice Cube and Bruce A. Young stand out amongst the gang members. They were all just fine for this kind of movie, but those two stood above the rest. Ice Cube was simply an angry looking guy earlier in his career and he translated that into this role. The Raymond character seems like a grade-jackass. King James might be a gangster, but he seems to have a more rational personality than the rest. But Raymond is simply a money man. He doesn’t care about King James, Lucky, or anyone else in the gang, he just wants to get paid. He’s one of the many unlikeable characters in this movie, so you just love to watch them all go at it.

Oh, and there’s also some awesomely bad 90s clothing in this movie. I am far from a fashion guru, but some of the gang member’s clothing is just tragic. The 80s always get ragged on for bad fashion, but the 90s were arguably worse. It’s good for shits and giggles though.

I came home from work on a Friday a few weeks ago and wanted something that would simply entertain me. I had a fire going in the living room, a cheesesteak and fries in my belly, and a beer in my hand. The only other thing I needed was something to occupy me for the next few hours and this fit the bill perfectly. It plays out very similarly to a John Carpenter movie and I’m a fan his, so I was happy. They need to make more stuff like this rather than movies that aim to have nothing more than one big explosion after another (which is a growing trend). People seem to think bigger means better nowadays.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on February 21, 2013.