"Not just 'Thelma & Louise' meets 'Waiting to Exhale.'"
One of the rare movies sporting great action sequences and a ring of truth.Four L.A. women from the projects — Stony (Jada Pinkett), Cleo (Queen Latifah), Frankie (Vivica Fox), and Tisean (Kimberly Elise) — are sick of the marginal lives and injustices they suffer as black women. Frankie, the most assimilationist of the group (the others toil at a cleaning service), is fired from her bank-teller job after a guy she knows from the projects robs her bank. The bitter and desperate women begin to entertain the idea of robbing banks as a fast track to a fresh start.
Mournful and angry but often exciting, Set It Off treats the women’s actions with a mixture of moral weight and satisfying catharsis. We’re convinced (and saddened) that they feel they have no other recourse but armed robbery. A romantic subplot between Pinkett and dashing yuppie Blair Underwood seems to belong in another movie, though it allows for some fine intimate moments between the two actors.Strongly acted across the board, especially by the increasingly remorseless and businesslike Fox and the appealingly stoned and foulmouthed Latifah (in an anti-glamour turn). Tight and impressive on all levels, with snappy direction by F. Gary Gray and a well-calibrated script by Takashi Bufford and Kate Lanier.