25th Anniversary Edition
review by Bobby Blakey
Everyone has those movies that you grew up with that for whatever reason resonated with you. Growing up as someone obsessed with rap throughout the 80s and 90s I tended to gravitate to anything that brought that music or its starts to the forefront. In 1992 director Ernest R. Dickerson not only kicked off his directing career with the feature film Juice starring Omar Epps, Jermaine “Huggy” Hopkins, Khalil Kain, Vincent Laresca, Samuel L. Jackson, and Queen Latifah, but it also brought the late great Tupac Shakur out of the studio and onto the big screen. Now 25 years later Paramount is bringing Juice: 25th Anniversary Edition to Blu-ray for the first time.
Juice follows 4 Harlem teens, Q, Bishop, Raheem and Steel, who are out skipping school one day when they find out an old friend was killed in a shootout at a bar. After this, Bishop tells his friends that they have no respect, or juice. To get some, they rob a corner grocery store, but things take an unexpected turn. Only the four friends know what happened, but one of them is out for himself. I remember seeing this film in theaters and something about it just stuck with me. There are so many elements here that make for a great story that starts out as just a group of friends hanging out to something so much more violent and sad.
Everyone gives a great performance especially Shakur who steps into the role like he had been acting for years. There was never any denying that he was a genius behind the mic, but this showcased a new side of him as a performer and artist. The rest of the cast of Epps, Hopkins and Kain all share great chemistry with each other making for a group of guys you believe are friends. When the story starts taking a more violent turn it showcases some even better performances from each of them as they are all forced to deal with a wider range of emotions. Part of what makes this work as well is the use of the music to push it forward. It is pivotal to elements of the story direction and one of the characters future and used well here.
This is clearly a film for a specific audience and I am one of them and love this film just as much today as I did when I saw it for the first time 25 years ago. In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including a photo gallery, commentary and featurettes including new interviews with the surviving cast and making of the film.
Turn up the volume and watch your back when Juice: 25th Anniversary Edition comes to Blu-ray and DVD on June 6th from Paramount Home Entertainment.