Set It Off
|Set It Off|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||F. Gary Gray|
|Produced by||Oren Koules
|Screenplay by||Takashi Bufford
|Story by||Takashi Bufford|
Vivica A. Fox
John C. McGinley
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Edited by||John Carter|
|Distributed by||New Line Cinema|
|Release date(s)||November 6, 1996|
|Running time||123 minutes|
Set It Off is a 1996 American romantic action thriller film directed by F. Gary Gray, and stars Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox and Kimberly Elise (in her theatrical acting debut), as four close friends in Los Angeles, California who decide to plan and execute a bank robbery. They decide to do so for different reasons, although all four want better for themselves and their families.
Francesca "Frankie" Sutton (Vivica A. Fox) is a Los Angeles bank teller who witnesses a robbery. Shortly after the incident, the bank fires Frankie after the police uncover a connection between her and Darnell, one of the three robbers; despite the fact that he and one of his partners were killed in the robbery by security guards. Frankie gets a job at a janitorial company where her friends Lida "Stoney" Newsome (Jada Pinkett), Cleopatra "Cleo" Sims (Queen Latifah), and Tisean "T.T." Williams (Kimberly Elise) already work.
Stoney's brother Stevie is wrongfully gunned down by the police after they mistake him for one of the men involved in the previous robbery. The incident prompts Frankie to suggest that they rob a bank themselves. While Frankie is happy to go along with the plan, T.T. is initially opposed the idea. However, when an accident at work leads to her toddler being taken away by social services, T.T. commits to the plot as well.
The four women embark on a series of bank robberies, which are investigated by LAPD detective Strode (John C. McGinley). The women stash the money in an air vent at one of their work sites. However, when they show up for work another day, they realize that their boss, Luther (Thomas Jefferson Byrd), has discovered the money and fled. The women track down Luther and find him at a motel with a woman. When they confront Luther he is killed by T.T. when he pulls a gun on Cleo. Afterwards, Cleo takes the woman's drivers license to prevent her from contacting the police and though she informs them about the murder, a glare from Cleo intimidates her to remain quiet.
With their money gone, the girls rob another bank, which happens to be the same bank where Keith (Blair Underwood), Stoney's lover, works. Before they make it out of the bank, Strode and his partner arrive and order them to drop their weapons, but as they do, a bank security guard shoots Tisean. Stoney and Cleo open fire at the security guard and carry Tisean to the getaway car with Frankie behind the wheel. As Tisean dies in Stoney’s arms en route to a hospital, the three women decide to split up.
Cleo is the second of the girls to be killed after the police catch up to her. The police catch up to Frankie and order her to surrender. However, Frankie pulls a gun on Strode and tries to run away, but is shot and killed by an officer. Stoney, in the meantime, boards a bus heading to Mexico, but she painfully witnesses the killing of Frankie. Strode spots Stoney on the bus, but lets her go as he wouldn't be able to get to her in time to catch her. After cutting her hair in a small motel where she has taken refuge, she calls Keith but does not say anything. While she does not tell him where she is, she assures him that she is all right and thanks him. The movie ends with her driving through the mountains with the stolen money in tow. It is presumed that she took the money and escaped permanently, but leaving her old life behind her.
- Jada Pinkett as Lida "Stoney" Newsome
- Queen Latifah as Cleopatra "Cleo" Sims
- Vivica A. Fox as Francesca "Frankie" Sutton
- Kimberly Elise as Tisean "T.T." Williams
- John C. McGinley as Detective Strode
- Blair Underwood as Keith Weston
- Ella Joyce as Detective Waller
- Van and Vincent Baum as Jajuan Williams
- Charles Robinson as Nate Andrews
- Dr. Dre as Black Sam
- WC as Darnell
- Charles Walker as Captain Fredricks
- Mark Thompson (TV) as TV Anchor
- George Fisher as Cop
- F. Gary Gray as Guy driving low-rider
- Geoff Callan as Nigel
- Samantha MacLachlan as Ursula
- Natalie Desselle-Reid as Tanika
- Chaz Lamar Shepherd as Stevie Newsome
- Thomas Jefferson Byrd as Luther
- Kayla Hickson as accountant 1
- Samuel Monroe Jr. as Lorenz
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Set It Off holds an overall 63% approval rating based on 24 reviews, with a rating average of 6.1 out of 10. The site's consensus reads: "It may not boast an original plot, but Set It Off is a satisfying, socially conscious heist film thanks largely to fine performances from its leads."
|Year||Album||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|1996||Set It Off
Awards and nominations
- Best Director: F. Gary Gray (won)
- Best Supporting Female: Queen Latifah (nominated)
- Outstanding Lead Actress in a Motion Picture: Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith (nominated)
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture: Blair Underwood (nominated)