Wesley Snipes

REVIEW: Chi-Raq (2015)

Fed up with the violence on the streets of her city due to the rivalry between the Spartans led by her boyfriend Demetrius (Nick Cannon) and the Trojans led by Cyclops (Wesley Snipes), Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) rallies the Spartans’ and the Trojans’ lovers to withhold sex until there is peace.

Directed by Spike Lee, Chi-Raq is a modern-day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago. Whether because of its ancient Greek play roots, or because it’s a musical, the dialogue in Chi-raq has a rhythm to it and often rhymes. In terms of dialogue it reminds me of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet in a way, but Chi-Raq is still its own unique thing.

Chi-Raq offers commentary on the Black Lives Matter movement, with names of real people who have been murdered being mentioned throughout, and Americas’ obsession with guns in general. While all the characters are affected by gun violence in some way, it is Jennifer Hudson’s Irene who is at the centre of it all when her young child is killed. She’s in mourning but with the help of Father Mike Corridan (John Cusack) she takes part in their own protest against the killing of innocent bystanders.

Besides the broader social commentary, Chi-Raq also has some brilliant female characters and shows off the power of solidarity between women which was fantastic. The heart and soul of Chi-Raq is Lysistrata. She’s funny, strong and determined. She unifies people in a way that no one could’ve expected and Teyonah Parris is magnificent.

Everything about Chi-Raq is big and bold and very stylish. The music and songs are catchy, and the dance routines are often over the top but everything about it works so well. It’s message is obvious but it also manages to be a film that’s fun and full of characters with depth.

Chi-Raq is striking and as about as subtle as a brick to the face but with some incredible performances, especially by its female leads, it’s a funny yet powerful film. 5/5.

Having Adventures through an Actors Filmography

I’m pretty sure we all do it. There’s an actor or actress that we like and recently watched in something and so decide to have a look through their back catalogue of work to see what else they’ve done and if they have always made flawless choices in roles.

As you go on this trip through an actor’s filmography you find many great and terrible things. In the words of Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, I hope they appreciate what we go through for them.

I was doing this myself the other day. The actor in question was Wesley Snipes. I’d just watched Chaos (which I liked a lot more than I thought I would) and was wishing I had my Blade DVD’s with me at University to have a rewatch. So I’m just googling him and seeing what he’s done and find a film with a rather long title – To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar. It’s about three drag queens played by Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo, who are on a road trip across America until their car breaks down leaving them stranded in a small town.

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