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Overall Rating
1.45

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 9.09%
Pretty Bad: 27.27%
Total Crap63.64%

1 review, 5 user ratings


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Dangerous Ground
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by Chris Parry

"Can it be called a vanity project when it makes Cube looks so dumb?"
1 stars

You know you're in trouble when you see "starring Ice Cube and Liz Hurley" in the opening credits of a film. It's not that either of them don't have a place in the world of film, after all, who better to play a malt suckin' gangbanger than Cube, and if you want to cast a Satanic wench that inspires hatred from the audience, Hurley is your go-to girl. But when you're relying on them both to be capable leads in a pseudo-political 'thriller' set in South Africa, you're setting your sights a bit low. Throw in Hurley attempting a 'Seth Efrican' accent and let Cube be exec-producer and we're no longer dealing with low expectations, we're dealing with extreme pain. A head-poppingly, jaw-droppingly, straight to video, made by amateurs, wannabe political, written in crayon, network TV friendly, vanity project piece of garbage.

Ice Cube is suffering from a delusion. He thinks he's a Hollywood player. He thinks he's box office gold. He thinks he's a bad-ass. Cube is none of these things, but this doesn't stop him from producing garbola like Next Friday and Dangerous Ground. Other actors stray into the producing market with varying degrees of success, and producing a film that doesn't quite crack the top ten is no heinous crime. But when said actor/producer decides to write the script, star as a lead, and then use the film to make himself look like an action superstar with great morals, a big heart, and a mean right hook... can you say 'vanity project'?

Liz Hurley must have fired her agent after this abhorrence. Sure, in 1996 she was looking to bust into Hollywood, but taking a role where she plays a crack-smoking stripper with the world's worst attempted accent is not the road to Oscar country. After all, if she could really play the part of crackwhore to any degree of competence, would Hugh Grant have gone looking for one on Sunset Strip?

So Cube is an African literature student who travels to the new South Africa to say howdy to his kin, only his mother asks him to go to Johannesburg to find his errant younger brother. Cube has exams back in the US, but he's a family man yo, so he makes the trip to Jo'burg, is carjacked, mugged, blah blah blah. Basically everyone beats him up or robs him which tells us that the new South Africa is the same as the old one. Thanks for the political theory lesson, Cube. Now that's out of the way, perhaps we can get back to the kid-brother hunt.

Once in Jo'burg he meets the crackwhore who knows his brother and gets involved in the usual kind of straight to video 'being chased by drug barons' crap that we all know will end up with the hooker with the heart of gold going straight and the hero going through the whole thing without breaking a sweat, let alone taking off his shades, avenging deaths and being all warrior-like. Not bad for a college kid.

As a film, this is pretty poor stuff. To try to give the film an arty feel, it begins with lots of lingering close-ups, switching to black and white slo-mo's and the like, but it doesn't take long to forget all that claptrap and move into the realm of static cameras and shonky sets. Whenever the story runs into a dead end, Cube throws in a little self-serving narration like "drugs had moved in where apartheid had left off, just like back in America. I knew right there I had to do something about it." Oh puh-lease, someone send this cat home to do his exams already and leave the crime fighting to Batman.

In Three Kings, Cube knew his place and was great. In Boyz N The Hood, Cube played to his strengths and was great. In Dangerous Ground, Cube plays a black James Bond and sucks mighty ass. If you can deal with lines like "only two things I don't buy, water and women, cos both come free," or "there's a war out there on our youth. We been at war with the white man so long, it doesn't matter who opresses us, we just accept it," then perhaps you can endure this convoluted mess. But be warned, it's a 'roll your eyeballs six times a minute' affair. The action is lame, the story lamer, and if the acting wasn't already enough to make your teeth grind, the attempted accents will have your bicuspids ground down to bloody stumps by the end.

If your choices are between watching Dangerous Ground or peeling back your own foreskin with a potato peeler, just make with the unzipping.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=4581&reviewer=1
originally posted: 11/12/00 10:10:34
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User Comments

10/15/14 PAUL SHORTT TRITE AND SILLY 1 stars
3/31/13 Jeff Wilder Social commentary and thriller elements don't mesh. CHaracters underdeveloped. 2 stars
3/03/03 Jack Sommersby Underdeveloped social commentary. Wooden performances & drab direction don't help. 2 stars
2/28/02 Alan Smithee Only worth watching if you're a Liz Hurley devotee. 2 stars
9/01/01 Butterbean Finally! A movie set in Africa that stays in civilization! 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  12-Feb-1997 (R)

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