Ghetto Dawg 2 Release Date: 2005 (USA) Genre: Drama Director(s): Jeff Crook & Josh Crook (both of Sucker Punch) Writer(s): Christine Conradt (A Killer Upstairs, The Perfect Nanny) Staring: Will Sierra, Paris Campbell, Kelvin Coffey Unfortunately, I remember nothing about the original Ghetto Dawg. I know that I saw it, but at this point I […]

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Ghetto Dawg 2
Release Date: 2005 (USA)
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Jeff Crook & Josh Crook (both of Sucker Punch)
Writer(s): Christine Conradt (A Killer Upstairs, The Perfect Nanny)
Staring: Will Sierra, Paris Campbell, Kelvin Coffey

Unfortunately, I remember nothing about the original Ghetto Dawg. I know that I saw it, but at this point I don’t even remember if I enjoyed it, let alone what the plot was. It must have performed quite nicely for Spartan Home Entertainment, as four years later Integration Entertainment chose Ghetto Dawg 2 to be their first in-house production. And despite the producers working with a budget that was likely $100,000 or lower, Ghetto Dawg 2 is a fantastic piece of work. Brian Averill, who directed the original Ghetto Dawg, went onto work with a higher budget for the excellent Simple Revenge. And if there’s any justice in the world, Jeff and Josh Crook, who previously helmed the acclaimed low(er) budget Sucker Punch, will move on up as well.

I knew there had to be something to Ghetto Dawg 2 for it to warrant distribution through Lionsgate. Sure, nearly everything Integration licenses gets put out by LG, but a company that rarely touches urban material suddenly distributing the sequel to freakin Ghetto Dawg seemed out of place. Just as you all probably thought when you saw it at the video store, I figured Ghetto Dawg 2 would be cheap, exploitative, poorly directed, and full of actors who can’t act.

Color me surprised. Ghetto Dawg 2 is one of the best made-for-video urban films that I’ve ever seen. After years of sitting through Maverick, York, and Spartan’s lukewarm offerings, someone finally stepped up and made something great.

What’s mildly amusing, at least to me, is that Ghetto Dawg 2’s plot is quite similar to that of Two Guns. Both deal with the pain and yearning for revenge that one goes through when a family member is murdered. But while Two Guns was awful and couldn’t have been saved by a million dollar budget, Ghetto Dawg 2 is breathtaking, gritty, and most importantly, real.

Inner city youth Donte is conflicted when Angel, who runs the dog fighting division of crime boss Big Daddy’s empire, murders his brother Tyrone. The only thing Donte is left with is his brother’s prized pitbull. Even though it seems so easy, when he’s presented with the opportunity he just can’t muster up the strength to pull the trigger and end the life of the man who killed his brother. Donte believes that being an assistant to the cold-blooded and ruthless hitman Jojo will prepare him for the big moment. But as he starts up a relationship with Angel’s girlfriend Brynn between going out on the town and witnessing Jojo brutally murdering at Angel’s behest, he realizes that he’s just not up to it. But that doesn’t mean he and Brynn can’t hatch a plan whereby Angel will be taken out without Donte pulling the trigger.

The Cooks are such talented directors that I refuse to believe they’ll be doing this kind of fare five years from now. Unlike someone like Anthony Hickox, whose style I do admire and enjoy, the Crooks are capable of being flashy without causing distraction. Not only that, but they picked out an excellent cinematographer, and the editing style focuses on realism rather than dramatics. Ghetto Dawg 2’s performances require no showy editing for the film to connect with you.

Great stuff.
DVD: Barebones.

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