Set It Off
  • Set It Off
  • Set It Off

Set It Off

4.7 4
Director: F. Gary Gray

Cast: F. Gary Gray, Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox

     
 

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The sophomore film effort from music video director F. Gary Gray, Set It Off is a crime thriller about four women bank robbers from a housing project in L.A. Ever since her parents' death, Stony (Jada Pinkett Smith) has had to act as a parent to her little brother Stevie (Chaz Lamar Shepard). She works in various capacities to make a future for him at U.C.L.A.See more details below

Overview

The sophomore film effort from music video director F. Gary Gray, Set It Off is a crime thriller about four women bank robbers from a housing project in L.A. Ever since her parents' death, Stony (Jada Pinkett Smith) has had to act as a parent to her little brother Stevie (Chaz Lamar Shepard). She works in various capacities to make a future for him at U.C.L.A. Cleo (Queen Latifah) is a butch lesbian who wants nothing more than to customize her classic car. Tisean (Kimberly Elise) is a painfully shy single mother to her son Jajuan, struggling to make ends meet. Frankie (Vivica A. Fox) is the stylish bank teller who gets fired in the opening scene and ends up working with the other three at a janitorial service owned by irritating boss Luther (Thomas Jefferson Byrd). With Frankie upset from her unjust firing, Stony angry from the wrongful killing of her brother, and Tisean losing her baby to the child protective services, the four friends are motivated to rob a bank themselves. Looking for thrills, Cleo gets some guns from Black Sam (Dr. Dre in a cameo role), and they pull off their first job without a hitch. Their success starts a trend and they rob other banks in the area, all the while being investigated by Detective Strode (John C. McGinley). In a romantic subplot, Stony finds romance with wealthy Harvard-educated Keith (Blair Underwood) before the violent chase-scene ending.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
The Hollywood crime drama Set It Off effectively uses the various injustices suffered by black women in the inner city as motivation toward a life of crime. The main asset here is that it's a rare instance of black women screenwriters (Takashi Bufford and Kate Lanier) writing for a cast of black women actresses. In contrast to the showy action scenes and the slick production design, the individual hardships and financial problems of the four women are realistic and believable. In an early scene, the four friends get high on a rooftop overlooking an abandoned factory, pining at the prospect of making 15 dollars an hour. Unfortunately, after they become bank robbers, the screenplay starts to suffer from the standard improbabilities of Hollywood action movies and plays out to a needlessly violent conclusion. Also unnecessary is the wild change in tone during the romantic relationship development between tough girl Stony and pretty boy Keith. This seems to be just thrown in for reasons of Cinderella-style wish-fulfillment. What is the most disappointing aspect of Set It Off is its brutal ending, where none of the hard work and sisterhood pays off for any of the protagonists. Though it has been frequently compared to Thelma & Louise, don't expect the same kind of thoughtful, moving catharsis in the final reel. This is just a decent action film, worthy for its initial setup and its unabashed view of gay lifestyles in the black community.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/08/2009
UPC:
0794043131585
Original Release:
1996
Rating:
R
Source:
New Line Home Video
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
2:04:00
Sales rank:
24,056

Special Features

New featurette Setting It Straight: Making Set It Off; Ray J Let It Go Music Video; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jada Pinkett Smith Stony
Queen Latifah Cleo
Vivica A. Fox Frankie
Kimberly Elise Tisean
John C. McGinley Detective Strode
Blair Underwood Keith
Chaz Lamar Shepherd Stevie
Vincent Baum & Van Jajuan
Dr. Dre Black Sam
Darryl Gibson Bundy

Technical Credits
F. Gary Gray Director,Executive Producer
Allen Alsobrook Co-producer
Michelangelo Bolla Asst. Director
Takashi Bufford Co-producer,Original Story,Screenwriter
John Carter Editor
Robert J. Degus Associate Producer
Kelsee Devoreaux Stunts
Robb Wilson King Production Designer
Oren Koules Producer
Kate Lanier Screenwriter
Richard Lightstone Sound/Sound Designer
Lance Lombardo Set Decoration/Design
Pilar McCurry Musical Direction/Supervision
Mary Parent Executive Producer
Dale Pollock Producer
Robi Reed-Humes Casting
Marc Reshovsky Camera Operator
Sylvia Vega-Vasquez Costumes/Costume Designer
Don Wilkerson Asst. Director
Christopher Young Score Composer
Robert "Bobby Z" Zajonc Stunts

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