We’re back to the movies this time with another review. And this time, I’m so hyped up, I can barely sit straight. I just fell in love, all over again, with the hit movie ‘Set it Off’ starring some of the greatest actors (black or white) that have ever graced the big screen. That would be Jada Pinkett, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise, with a tantalising appearance by Blair Underwood.
Let me give you just a few reasons why you too will be as besotted and enthralled by this movie as I will forever be. First of all, it is a deafening cry and a huge step forward for feminism. After being sick to my stomach of romance novels and rom-coms where the female protagonist falls in love with the valiant man who is kind enough to rescue her from her helpless situation, it is so refreshing to finally see Sisters ‘doing it for themselves’. After Vivica Fox’s character, ‘Frankie’, is jilted by her boss and the police, she decides, along with her 3 ride-or-die chicks, to take the situation into her own hands. She refuses to take being walked over, lying down. Even the romantic interests played an inconsequential role and though Blair Underwood shows Jada Pinkett’s character ‘a whole new world’, she stays true to herself and proves her independence from him time and time again throughout the flick. And best believe I was hooting and hollering when Queen Latifah boldly declared “Don’t mess with me. I’m a bitch with a gun.” Oh yes you are honey, Oh hell yes you are!
Second of all, this is a movie straight out of ‘Black Hollywood’ that could comfortable sit up there and even surpass most of the mainstream hollywood action movies I have seen. From the beginning to the end, they took me through all the raw emotions they were feeling and for the first time in years, had me breaking down in tears, in sync with their own. Us ‘Black Hollywood’ addicts have to admit that most of the movies in this sphere, especially action movies, are often times second rate, poorly performed and visibly low budget. But F. Gary Gray directed the hell out of this movie, complete with perfectly placed soundtracks and camera flashbacks at the end which placed you directly in Pinkett’s “Stony”‘s shoes. I was still singing the ‘Set it off’ song long after the movie was over as Queen Latifah had me feeling like a bad-ass chick after the warrior way in which she ended the film.
There are too many other reasons why you need to have this movie as 1st in your DVD collection but I’ll just give you one more. The chemistry between the characters rivaled that of ‘Sex and the City’ or even Kelsey Grammar’s ‘Girlfriends’. The little private jokes they shared, their declarations of loyalty and the explosive fights that went on between them reminded me so much of my girls back in school, that it made me want to blub all over again. You felt that deep bond of sisterhood between them, from the beginning to very volatile ending and that is what, in my opinion, underpinned the success of the entire movie. They stayed side by side, no matter what, showing us all the true meaning of ride or die.
I honestly can’t put into words how much I love this movie and though a sequel will soon be out with a whole new cast, my heart will always be with these 4 sisters: Stony, Cleo, Frankie and Tashawn. If you ain’t know, you ain’t know. But you better ask somebody!
Review by Konyin Aromolaran