Thursday, March 26, 2015

Leprechaun Retrospective: Leprechaun In The Hood (2000)

Leprechaun In The Hood
Director: Rob Spera
Starring: Warwick Davis, Ice-T, Anthony Montgomery, Rashaan Nall, Dan Martin
Rated:  R

A friend with weed is a friend indeed, but a friend with gold is the best I'm told.

Well, three years went by and finally Leprechaun's rainbow was found again.  Originally this was conceived to be Leprechaun do his tidings in the White House.  There are various trails of information as to exactly what that may have entailed, but nothing I have found is really certain.  Some say Leprechaun was president in the movie, which I could see that being sort of an endgame or lead up to in the movie, but not a full movie of those hi-jinx.  Either way, its a "What if", because they went in a different direction.
That direction was to the hood.  Apparently they had some sort of report that their key demographic watching the films was youthful black people.  So they decided to reach out and try to grab ahold of it and feature a movie with an all black cast.  And honestly, I think this was a socially risky move if someone doesn't "get" these movie, but ultimately it was a good one.  My problems are that the movie didn't really push the limits of satirizing 90s gangster rap and "hood" movies and sort of is out of touch with things as well.
In The Hood starts out pretty promising with its opening sequence.  Its got the right idea.  A subway tunnel in the 1970s, Ice-T with a big fro, facing off with the Leprechaun he pulls out 3 ridiculous weapons from it.  Then, we get to the present day and the film quickly realizes that Brian-Trenchard Smith is no longer directing.  The film decides it wants to be some really crummy drama about 3 guys trying to make positive message rap songs (that really really suck) and getting screwed over by Ice-T.  I mean, this movie has loooooong stretches with no Leprechaun and really trying to focus on some stories.  I must first say that I appreciate them trying to do more with their characters and give them an actually story and motivations beyond "Oh shit, the Leprechaun is going to get me".
However, this movie reeks of being out of touch and done by an old white guy.  Oh wait, it was.  The movies urban element and style feels like its dated by about a decade.  The music these guys are making sounds much like that late 1980's game show host rap that wasn't a thing like what was going on in 2000.  I mean think about 2000; there was Jay-Z, DMX and the Cash Money Millionaires.  None of them remotely sounded a thing like this.  
This is not the worst Leprechaun movie at all.  In fact, you could argue it might be the second best at this juncture.  The film does have some humor and good parts.  But its also full of groaners and things that aren't working too.  Half the time I'm liking the movie, half the time I'm incredibly bored with it.  Of course the Leprechaun has to smoke weed and rap in this thing, its something that just had to happen.  But, a lot of the hood humor doesn't feel relevant, is forced and isn't really good.  Much of it feels restrained.  This is a movie, that renting it/buying it/streaming it, you are expecting and wanting this movie to just let loose and it never really does.
On top of that, its horror movie element doesn't work much at all.  The kills in this one are really weak and feel like an afterthought.  The director even said that they were the last thing on their mind and some aspects were added last minute.  I can't even think of one memorable moment of violence from the film as I'm typing this up and I've just viewed the movie.  The comedy and gore used to mix so well, and here one is half working and the other is pretty much nonexistent.  Brian-Trenchard Smith seemed to be only one that got this.
Leprechaun in the Hood is not terrible, but nowhere near as good as what you're hoping.  With something as ridiculous as In Space, it was every bit as stupid a movie as you knew you were getting.  With In The Hood it feels like the ambition sort of stopped with the title and decision of the setting for the film.  Even Warwick Davis feels disinterested in this one.  He gets to do some crazy things and has a rap, but this may be his weakest output of the series.  I thought I remembered this one being much better, but its really not.  Maybe its the next one I'm thinking about .  Well, I guess we'll see very soon then.

NEXT TIME:  It was a good day, so Lep stayed with the boyz in the hood.

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