DVD review – Chi-Raq

It’s always interesting to see what an outsider thinks of one of the nation’s more violent areas. Chicago, dubbed “Chi-Raq” for its overwhelming violence in low income neighborhoods, has long been the subject of national debate when it comes to gun control regulation. How can the city, which has some of the more stringent gun laws in the country, have such pronounced gun violence on a regular basis? Anytime a mass shooting happen the odds are usually in the favor of more people being shot in the city that week. It’s become the defacto conservative talking point it seems; being a greater Chicagoland native it makes you wonder what the rest of the country thinks of arguably the most violent city in the U.S.

If it’s anything like the Spike Lee film Chi-Raq then it’s unintentionally comedic in nearly every manner possible.

An adaptation of the Greek play “Lysistrata,” the film is a modern adaptation set in Chicago’s South Side. When a child is hit with a stray bullet, and tragically killed, the women of the South Side stage a sex strike. Until the violence stops their will not be any sex going on in that area of the city. From there shenanigans ensue, of course, leading to a grand finale.

The problem with the film is that it’s so over the top in the tradition of the signature film-ruining moments of Lee’s career, ala the racial slur montage in Do the Right Thing or everything after Malcolm X’s death in Malcolm X, that it winds up being unintentionally hilarious. It’s so over the top that it’s hard to take serious.

Nothing special as a couple EPK pieces, a music video and some deleted scenes are included.

Lionsgate presents Chi-Raq. Written and Directed by Spike Lee. Starring Nick Cannon, John Cusack, Wesley Snipes, Teyonah Parris, Samuel L. Jackson. Run Time: 127 minutes Rated R. Released: January 26, 2016.

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