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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Urban > Hip Hop > Loyalty & Respect (Hip Hop Drama)

Loyalty & Respect (Hip Hop Drama)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Main Program: C



Very slowly, more narrative feature projects with all-African American casts are surfacing, being shot on video and offering Hip Hop stories in a like world.  Quanie Cash’s Loyalty & Respect (2005) tells us yet another variant of the drug dealing scene and how flying high never lasts.  This is the kind of project that brings up the debate as to whether such projects perpetuate or simply point out a very violent urban culture, but it is done with some deliberate intent to have a consistent narrative.


Unfortunately, it stops short too often, making the usual “I am telling you this, because that is the way it is” flaw.  This means, as it does with any kind of production, just telling anything without additional effort in the visual department when shooting in any visual format is not sufficient in telling things more deeply than a cell phone conversation.  To his credit, it does not try to merely be a New York School of Filmmaking rehash and shows us places and lives we rarely see.  Unfortunately, everything else falls flat and especially as compared to Craig Brewer’s Hustle & Flow the same year (with the same kind of ampersand-split title) cannot compete with the well-rounded indie everyone is talking about.


The letterboxed 1.78 X 1 image was shot on tape and has some detail and digititis issues, suggesting this is a generation down it should not be or that maybe there was some degradation during editing.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is too harsh and adds unnecessary harshness to the high end, as well as muddying the music and its bass richness too much.  Extras include outtakes and an audio commentary by the director that proves if he were more ambitious and found some direction, toping this would not be a problem as he takes seriously what he is doing.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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