Cut Throat City; Grade: C-
Cut Throat City is about a Graphic Novel Artist named Blink (Shameik Moore), whom graduated with an associates degree in Tulsa, has a loyal group of homies, and is now married. Unfortunately for Blink Hurricane Katrina is on the horizon, as the aftermath of the storm left him, his family, and his homies at a difficult place. Blink can’t secure his career path as a Graphic Artist as he got turned down, plus Blink got turned down at FEMA for disaster benefits. There was only one way to go for Blink and his homies: Robbing Casinos. With the inside help from Blink’s wife’s cousin Bass (T.I.), he’ll guide him and his homies way to secure the bag.
The Cinematography was alright, wasn’t really impressed with any of the shots in this film, however this film didn’t look that cheap like you would assume from the poster design, so at least there’s that. The Score was alright as well, some music choices worked just fine, some didn’t. One song particular playing at a night club I found to not fit at all, could’ve used T.I.’s Live Your Life, I’m sure if RZA asked T.I. we would certainly grant him permission. The film does indeed have an editing problem, as one can find a troubling time following along with this film, as it felt scrambled.
The cast all in all were fine, I’m honestly surprised this film was able to acquire fairly well known cast. Shameik Moore playing Blink played a solid performance, I also felt this character was fairly well written as well. Though one may not agree with Blink’s action of partaking in stealing, however you can honestly understand why this felt like a last resort for Blink. Blink is not in a good financial situation, as his wife is basically leading his family through adversity, which brings Blink feeling terrible about himself that he isn’t able to provide for his family the way a man should be. Though the ending regarding where our character stands caught me off guard, I did however realize that the development of this character felt completed. He was given a second chance as instead of following the same routine and wrecking his own life once more, he instead takes this as an opportunity to make something out himself.
Some interesting supporting performances. I found Wesley Snipes in his small role to be not half bad. Terrence Howard plays a particularly intriguing character, who has a terrible wardrobe, as I thought his performance was rock solid bringing some quality entertainment to this role. T.I. as Cousin Bass was alright, the main concern with regarding T.I. in general, is whomever worked on his makeup?! Supposedly this character is described as one who has some kind of Skin Pigment Disorder, which I have friends who have the same exact thing, as whomever did the makeup did a horrible job as it was completely distracting. You can tell someone just painted his face, it doesn’t look natural or convincing by the slightest. Ethan Hawke plays some corrupt cop whom is running for some kind of office or has an office I’m not sure, I found his performance to be totally ridiculous. I’m surprised Ethan Hawke took on a role like this, but then again his love for acting is unmatched, so I can understand what aspire him to take on this role.
RZA more known as a rap artist, has also made a couple films in the past, so he does have experience regarding film making. During the duration of this film, I kept thinking of a past film in which Ethan Hawke and Wesley Snipes were also in Brooklyns Finest. I don’t remember much about that film, however the vibe of this film felt somewhat similar. I do believe Cut Throat City is actually a tad better than Brooklyn’s Finest, however I have mixed feelings regarding this film.
Other than the issues I stated earlier, I felt the plot was a mess. It has way too much going on, as a good half of what goes on this story, you often ask many questions, because you can’t correlate what exactly is going on?! There are side plots in which doesn’t work in this story, it was doing way too much when it could’ve been handled much simpler. Regarding the story, some of the characters are hard to follow, other than our main character Blink. I’m not sure what significance did Cousin Bass have to do with Blink and his boys taking out a casino, as why should he get a significant cut of the money?! I’m not even sure what kind of legitimate illegal group Bass is running to be honest, only thing I saw that made sense was his raccoon fights.
Thankfully this film wasn’t boring, as I kept a fair amount of interest partaking this story, no matter if it was kind of a mess structure wise. Also I felt the film maker however pulls off, in which what he was trying to say with his film. The film partakes in themes of greed, as how less high end communities often get left behind regarding recovery towards a tragic event like Hurricane Katrina. While the Casinos are thriving with wealth, how come these gentlemen aren’t given much of a chance with recovery!? Are the Casinos more valued, than the people of New Orleans? Same can be said about what to do, when given a second chance in life. Are you going to make something of yourself with the opportunity granted to you, or are you going to do absolutely nothing with it, as you’ll end up dead where you stand?! Listen if this story maintain a reasonable structure, as it’s not much of a mess: This film can easily be appreciated, to the point of recommending, because it does have something to say. But thankfully my time wasn’t wasted, as there was at least a couple elements to appreciate.
Overall, Cut Throat City was just alright. I would check this out when it comes on rental. Well the first 2020 film post shut down watched in theaters was honestly nice, looking forward to the many new releases under way! -Mitch Smietana